Love & Other Drugs is propelled by the leads rather than the story. I give major credit for the brave performances by Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal as they don’t go overboard with characters that could’ve been walking movie clichés. Now, the script itself is serviceable but nothing special, in fact it sticks pretty closely to the formula. As for the Blu-ray, it excels in the video department, has a good audio track while the features are more to be desired.
Genre(s): Drama, Romance
Fox | R – 112 min. – $39.99 | March 1, 2011
Directed by: Edward Zwick
Writer(s): Jamie Reidy (book); Charles Randolph and Edward Zwick & Marshall Herskovitz (screenplay)
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Josh Gad, Gabriel Macht
Theatrical Release Date: November 24, 2010
Features: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Live Lookup, BD-Live, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): Region Free
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
If you’ve seen the trailers for Love & Other Drugs – with hip indie music and all –, you think it’s a deep and thought-provoking film that you might only see at your local independent theater; the type of film where the ending is un-Hollywood and in fact sticks it to the town by turning convention on its head. Well, while the film as a whole works thanks to its leads, the actual plot is pretty basic and has been done plenty of times before.
Jamie Randall (JAKE GYLLENHAAL) is a ladies’ man and he knows he can do and sell anything with the wink of the eye and a bright, big smile. He can land any woman he wants and gets plenty of sex while his professional life is in disarray much to the chagrin of his father (GEORGE SEGAL) and mother. Making things worse is the fact his younger brother, Josh (JOSH GAD), made it rich after creating a medical software company.
So Jamie starts working for the pharmaceutical company Pfizer peddling various drugs to doctors via sweet talking and, basically, bribery and finds success when a new drug called Viagra hits the market and him being a man of experienced sexual prowess finds it his calling to sell the drug with the support of his supervisor Bruce Winston (OLIVER PLATT). On one visit to peddle a drug to Dr. Stan Knight (HANK AZARIA) he tags along when the doc examines a beautiful young woman named Maggie Murdock (ANNE HATHAWAY) who also in the early on-set of Parkinson’s Disease and needs specific medication to battle it.
Like in any romantic comedy, Maggie discovers that Jamie, who she thought was an intern, was not who he said he was, the two fight but through Jamie’s charm manages to get a lunch date out of her. What starts out as a purely physical relationship as Maggie’s past experiences with boyfriends have not ended well, slowly turns into something deeper much to the surprise of Jamie, who has always kept a distance from commitment (another staple of a rom-com). They fight, make up, tears are shed, etc.
Love & Other Drugs is an interesting little film mainly because the trailers made it look like an indie film but instead turned into the typical flick in a genre where it’s hard to surprise the viewer. What was also a surprise was to see the movie was co-adapted, based in part on the book “Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman”, produced and directed by Edward Zwick, the man behind action-thrillers-dramas like Courage Under Fire, The Siege, The Last Samurai and Blood Diamond. However, it also harkens back to one of his feature film debut, About Last Night, about a couple who have an affair and the ramifications that evolve from it.
While the movie isn’t anything special in terms of the plot, where it does excel is in the performances especially from Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal. When it is revealed that Hathaway’s character has early on-set Parkinson’s I immediately though, “Oscar bait” but she plays it pretty well with subtly yet with a real emotional core that worked so well for the dynamic between her character and Jamie.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.5/5
Deleted Scenes (7:31; HD) – There are a select number of scenes; a couple that are merely extended that wouldn’t have added a whole lot to the film save for Oliver Platt’s character having a heart attack.
Love & Other Drugs: An Actor’s Discussion (8:00; HD) is a typical EPK-like featurette where the actors (Gyllenhaal, Hathaway) talk about what the movie is about set against behind-the-scenes footage.
Beautifully Complex: Anne Hathaway is Maggie (2:57; HD) – The actress talks about her character and the early on-set Parkinson’s disease she’s dealing with and, eventually, accepting it.
Reformed Womanizer: Jake Gyllenhaal is Jamie (3:34; HD) – Gyllenhaal gets his chance to talk about the character and what he’s all about and how the character changes once he meets Maggie.
Selling Love & Other Drugs (3:10; HD) – Gyllenhaal, Hathaway, Edward Zwick and others including the author – who was a drug rep – talk about the novel it’s based upon and the real life experiences that influenced the movie.
Theatrical Trailer (2:25; HD)
The Blu-ray comes with a second disc containing the Digital Copy (** Blu-ray Exclusive **).
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Love & Other Drugs is presented in its original 1.85 aspect ratio and overall looks good in high-def. Along with a fine amount of natural film grain, there’s also some good detail level throughout from close-ups to background objects. Colors meanwhile also look good not going overboard with warmth but also not void of any either. I didn’t see this in theaters but I imagine it’s pretty close.
AUDIO – 4/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is nice with clear and distinct dialogue and some choice music and score thrown in to give it a little depth. There’s not a whole lot here to judge since there are no action scenes but for the genre, it’s a good track.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Overall, Love & Other Drugs is propelled by the leads rather than the story. I give major credit for the brave performances by Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal as they don’t go overboard with characters that could’ve been walking movie clichés. Now, the script itself is serviceable but nothing special, in fact it sticks pretty closely to the formula. As for the Blu-ray, it excels in the video department, has a good audio track while the features are more to be desired.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2.