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Love & Other Drugs (2 stars)

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Love & Other Drugs

(15) 112min

Edward Zwick’s Love & Other Drugs may stylistically represent a throwback to the sort of intimate character driven drama of his first film About Last Night but it also possesses the epic scope of a director more commonly associated with blockbusters like The Last Samurai.

Based in part on Jamie Reidy’s non-fiction bestseller, Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, the film follows Jake Gyllenhaal’s charismatic Pfizer salesman Jamie Randall as he navigates the pharmaceutical industry of the late 90s and makes his fortune.

It then departs from the novel in having him fall for Anne Hathaway’s sassy waitress Maggie Murdock, whom he first encounters as a patient suffering from early-onset Parkinson’s.

The ensuing romance is marked by the same kind of sexual frankness of Zwick’s cinematic debut but is, at heart, an adult romantic comedy drama that still plays too close to formula. It’s also too eager to please.

Hence, where Zwick shows bravado in his exploration of the industry, his handling of the complexity of dealing with debilitating illness is less assured and prone to crowd-pleasing gestures that struggle to ring emotionally true.

General release from Wed 29 Dec.

Love and Other Drugs

  • 2 stars
  • 2010
  • US
  • 15
  • Directed by: Edward Zwick
  • Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway

When Gyllenhaal's flashy young pharmaceutical sales rep meets sassy independent waitress Maggie (Hathaway) the stage is set for a formulaic romance tinged with the special poignancy that can only arise when one of the protagonists is suffering from a debilitating disease. Yawn.

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