It’s a little scary to think that a movie set in 1996 is a period piece. It’s too soon to be retro and too far to look modern. So why is Love and Other Drugs specifically set in the days of the Backstreet Boys (the first time) and Monica Lewinsky? Because a little blue pill was about to change penises forever. Viagra was just around the corner and dick jokes would never be the same…
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Jamie Randall, a cocky but confused pharmaceutical rep who lacks any direction but the one leading to any available woman’s bed. When he meets Anne Hathaway’s Maggie, the two embark on a frantic, no strings sex-fest in her coffee shop, the alley behind her coffee shop, the loft above her coffee shop… you get the idea. (FYI, it’s pretty hot). The movie itself seems to have popped a performance enhancer; it goes hard with the nudity and sex scenes throughout (again, not that I’m complaining!) It comes as a surprise to both Jamie and Maggie that it’s he who craves commitment despite Maggie’s continued efforts to push him away. She suffers from early onset MS and is terrified of her own vulnerability.
The film is a traditional RomCom with extra boner jokes added in. The attempts made to be heartfelt by depicting the real tragedy of a heartbreaking disease are countermanded by its manipulation of the audience. We feel for Maggie but she remains a fairly two dimensional figure. The relationship between the two is resolved without actually developing. The saving grace of Love and Other Drugs are Gyllenhal and Hathaway whose chemistry and intellect saves the film from being saccharine. Plus they get naked a lot. Oh, and did I mention the boner jokes!? All in all, Love and Other Drugs does what it says on the tin; it’s intoxicating and addictive but leaves you confused as you come down. That being said, who doesn’t enjoy an occasional no-strings romp?
Love and Other Drugs is in theatres now.
By Zoe Shapiro