Love & Other Drugs Review

24 11 2010

Director Edward Zwick’s latest film LOVE & OTHER DRUGS is a moving film about the struggles of sex, love and happiness.

Edward has worked with some of the finest actors and actresses in his 20 plus films as director/producer.  He’s captured the horrors of war in films like GLORY, COURAGE UNDER FIRE, THE LAST SAMURAI, and DEFIANCE.  He’s tackled the harsh realities of the diamond trade in Africa with BLOOD DIAMOND and even handled epic period pieces like LEGENDS OF THE FALL.  In fact, Edward is one of only three directors (Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese) to have worked with both Tom Cruise and Leo Dicaprio.  He’s worked with Denzel Washington on three films, trailing only Spike Lee and Tony Scott (4 each with Denzel).  With this deep history of “man” films, its easy to forget that Love & Other Drugs is a true throw back to Swick’s breakout stories…love/sex stories.  Its also a nod back to his Chicago roots (though the film was shot in Pittsburgh mostly)!  His first major success is the love affair tale ABOUT LAST NIGHT…   The film stars a young Demi Moore and Rob Lowe battling through their differences to take part in a heated affair.  Also Edward’s long history of producer credits revolve around more family driven/female led TV shows like: FAMILY, THIRTYSOMETHING, MY-SO CALLED LIFE , and RELATIVITY.  Its these emotional strong shows and early films that are channeled in his latest work.


LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS, based on the Jamie Reidy book “Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman”, tells the story of  Jamie Randall, a Pfizer salesman (Jake Gyllenhaal) who falls in love with a woman (Anne Hathaway) battling with Parkinson’s Disease.  The intermingling of Jamie’s over-sexed lifestyle and the struggles of Maggie Murdock’s (Anne Hathaway) escalating disease are masterfully done.  Its Maggie’s hard exterior that captivates Jamie and the audience as well for that matter.  The performances of Gyllenhaal and Hathaway are gripping and their sexual chemistry is obvious.   Its easy to say this is the sexist performance from both actors, but their love really seems real and raw at the end of the film.  Edward co-wrote the screenplay that humanizes Jamie Reidy’s book by giving the main protagonist a family, a dynamic love interest, and humor.  The film is so much more humorous then I ever could have imagined.  Jake Gyllenhaal really shines in his “fearless” salesman quality that makes ladies swoon over him, but Anne’s tough standoffish demeanor obviously moves the story to new twists and turns.  The supporting cast really shines brightly in Edward’s return to romantic films (which by the way – Ed won his first Oscar as producer of Shakespeare in Love).   Genius Hank Azaria plays Dr. Knight the main target of Jamie’s Viagra sales and their friendship is a great addition to the film.

But the real fun moments are when Jamie returns home for dinners with his quirky parents played by Jill Clayburgh (Nancy) and George Segal (Dr. James Randall).  The real scene-stealer is the Jack Black-esque Josh Gad (Josh Randall) who’s abrasive younger brother is a goldmine in this film.

In the end though, the lead actors passionate romance has to be vibrant and believable.  The film does this and it does it in a way that I haven’t seen in a romantic comedy for a long time.  Its got the attraction down perfectly, but the film’s tougher moments with dealing with the struggles of Parkinson’s Disease really stick with you.  Now I may be biased on that front since I have a close relationship with someone who has Parkinson’s and so the film really hit me hard.  But in the end I think the film captures so many wonderful moments in these two lovers’ lives that we feel completely satisfied with where they end up.

If you are wondering what to do this Thanksgiving weekend, its really simple eat some turkey and cranberry surprise and then head over to your local movie theater to see the best romantic comedy of 2010!

For a great interview with Director Edward Zwick, check over at our buddies at Bigfanboy.com!!
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