Love & Other Drugs: Hard Sell (2010)

Posted: February 10, 2011 in Comedy, Drama

While stumbling through life, Jamie Randall finds himself becoming a pharmaceutical rep for Pfizer. While his life seems to revolve around pushing Zoloft onto the shelves of doctor’s offices, he will try anything to find an in with Dr. Stan Knight. Convincing the doctor to let him shadow his checkups, he meets Maggie Murdock and sees a little more of her than she would like. Their random encounter becomes a regular sexual exploration, as Maggie would prefer to keep the relationship simple. As they continue their relationship, Jamie discovers a new drug (Viagra) and seems to be on the fast lane to success. Jamie slowly seems to break down her wall but learns that Maggie resists serious relationships to avoid men finding out about her Parkinson’s diagnosis. While searching for a cure, both seem to realize that love has become the drug that brings them together.

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal (Jamie Randall), Anne Hathaway (Maggie Murdock), Oliver Platt (Bruce Winston), Hank Azaria (Dr. Stan Knight), Josh Gad (Josh Randall), George Segal (Dr. James Randall), Gabriel Macht (Trey Hannigan), Jill Clayburgh (Nancy Randall), Judy Greer (Cindy)

Jake Gyllenhaal serves as the antagonist into the world of pharmaceuticals. He seems to play role of the somewhat spacey but loving lead in multiple movies (see Brothers). As the movie transitions from its more comedic beginning to more drama during the latter half, he provides a strong presence of someone determined to save a relationship. Anne Hathaway has another strong performance as the compliment to Gyllenhaal’s clever performance. While the cause of her hesitations is hidden near the beginning, she provides a believably natural presence, making the viewer both love her and want to change her at the same time. Josh Gad fulfills the role of the sidekick, both in a way that provides comic relief and periodically challenges his hesitations with love.

This movie seems to be three separate stories. The first story is Jamie’s process of making a life for himself. While the movie highlights the battle of the depression medications (that also appear to be prescribed for a host of other medical issues), it takes a much stronger focus on the rise of Viagra as not just a sex drug but a sexy one. The second story is the challenging development of Jamie and Maggie’s relationship. This element is much more focused in romance and humor, as the trailer gave away one of the best jokes with Maggie arriving naked at his apartment door. The third focuses on the struggles with Parkinson’s and the rift the disease created between the dynamic couple. The best thing about these three stories is that they merge together very well. There is a surprising/not-so-surprising amount of sex, but it all sets up the process of achieving true love for Jamie and letting herself be loved for Maggie.

I truly enjoyed this film for the combination of the comedic and dramatic elements. This is not your average love story.

Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5


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