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Love and Other Drugs


Stars: Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Judy Greer, Josh Gad, George Segal, Jill Clayburgh

Director: Edward Zwick

A curious but not ineffective blend of crass comedy/sex romp (developing into) a love story and (developing into) a weepie. Its account of the introduction of Viagra in 1991 is played as crude farce, while another part of the story concerns a quite serious treatment of Parkinson's Disease and those who suffer from it.

Not surprisingly, this proves an odd and sometimes indigestible mixture, although individual elements within it often work quite well. The beaming Jamie (Gyllenhaal) is the bee's knees with girls and bonks everything in sight; he's a disappointment, though, to his parents (brief cameos from Segal and the late lamented Clayburgh) who see his fat and nerdy brother (Gad) already making his first million.

Fired from his job for (what else?) having sex on the premises, Jamie becomes a pharmaceutical salesman and soon runs into Maggie (Hathaway), a beautiful sufferer from the early stages of Parkinson's. Like him she's a hedonist and they are quickly into a vigorous sex life (lots of nudity from the stars) which they promise will remain without strings. We, of course, know better.

It's to the film's credit that it keeps us guessing to the end of all this. Will she leave him? Will she die? Will they stay together? All three seem possible for a satisfying while.

The fact that Hathaway and Gyllenhaal are really too pretty does slightly damage the impact of the choices they make, but that's hardly their fault, and Hathaway is particularly good here, notably when telling her partner that 'you only want me to get better so you can love me'. She's the main reason to keep watching, as we begin to tire of the couple's partings and reconciliations towards the end.

David Quinlan

USA 2010. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
112 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 22 Dec 2010