Sunday, December 12, 2010

Love and Other Drugs (Rhoades)

“Love & Other Drugs” Tries to Have It Both Ways
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

What do you expect when a guy who peddles Viagra meets a girl who just wants meaningless sex? Exactly.
That’s the situation in “Love & Other Drugs,” the wonky romance that’s now playing at the Tropic Cinema.

Jake Gyllenhaal is the suave guy with pick-up lines that work and a puckish sense of humor. He hooks up with Anne Hathaway, a just-wanna-have-fun girl with a secret. It’s not a spoiler to tell you that despite mutual vows to keep it FWB, they fall in love. Heck, the title tells you that much.

Gyllenhall showed security with his sexual identity when he played gay in “Brokeback Mountain.” Here, he plays it straight, reflecting the ladies man that he seems to be in real life. After all, we’ve seen him date Kirsten Dunst, Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon, and maybe even singer Taylor Swift.

And his recent films like “Prince of Persia” and “Brothers” have been designed to restore his macho image.
Anne Hathaway co-starred with Jake in “Brokeback Mountain,” so she had already developed a certain comfort level with him. Anne is trying to overcome the “good girl” image that she developed from her early Disney movies like “The Princess Diaries” and Miramax’s “Ella Enchanted.” One headline described it as going from “Princess to Passion.”

Her role as an unhappy wife in “Brokeback Mountain” signaled that sea change. She reinforced it as the free-spirited sister in “Rachel Getting Married” and as a phone-sex call girl (literally, you called her) in “Valentine’s Day.”

So now in “Love and Other Drugs” she gets naked with Jake. Pictures of the bare twosome have even appeared on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. And outtakes from the movie can be found on the Internet, two stars strategically imposed over her, ahem, bosom.

Director Edward Zwick tried to put his actors at ease with the script’s nudity by getting undressed and climbing into bed with them. Dunno, but that might have made me even more nervous.

This is about the amorous adventures of a pharma salesman. When Pfizer introduces Viagra, Jake smirks at his mentor (Oliver Platt), “Who could sell a dick drug better than me?’

Gyllenhaal’s member is the subject of a lot of jokes in the raunchy R-rated film. There’s even an impotence episode, but that flagging event is handled with funny banter and easy charm. That’s what makes this a comedy. The fact that Hathaway’s character is suffering from early-onset Parkinson’s is what makes it a drama.

The dramedy is based on a non-fiction book titled “Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman” by Jamie Reidy.

“Love and Other Drugs” has more in common with Zweck’s TV series “Thirtysomething” than his previous hairy-chested films like “Glory,” “Legends of the Fall,” “The Last Samurai,” and “Blood Diamond.”

This is one of a series of “unorthodox relationship” movies coming your way. Among them are “Friends With Benefits,” “No Strings Attached,” and “Hall Pass.”

Oh yes … as the title of “Love and Other Drugs” implies, we learn that love is the ultimate drug. Pharmaceutical companies, take note.
[from Solares Hill]

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