Love and Other Drugs

I was hesitant to go watch Love and Other Drugs for one big reason – the whole Jake Gyllenhaal and Taylor Swift factor. I love Jake to death. I think he’s a brilliant actor. He was fantastic in Donnie Darko, he was pretty good in The Day After Tomorrow, eerie in The Good Girl and of course critics widely praised him for his performance in Brokeback Mountain. And then if you add Jarhead, Zodiac, Proof and Rendition, it’s a wrap. Obviously, I am a Jake G. fan. I adore him to death which is why I’m disappointed and a little curious about this supposed Taylor hook up. I mean seriously, from Reese Witherspoon to her? And it doesn’t make sense since he and Reese broke up because he desperately wanted to settle down and she wasn’t quite ready. Does Taylor fit the settling down bill? Sorry I’m going on about this hook up, but unfortunately actors’ relationships do impact their fan base. Case in point, Brad and Angelina. I still can’t watch Mr. & Mrs. Smith. No joke. I switch the channel instantly when that movie comes on and it took me forever to watch another Angelina movie. I think Salt (2010) was my first since they got together. Yep, that bad, and I have a cousin who still refuses to watch an Angelina movie. Bottom line, it took a lot for me to go and watch Jake in Love and Other Drugs and staying home to watch reruns of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills would have been better.

Love and Other Drugs Synopsis

Maggie (Anne Hathaway) is an alluring free spirit who won’t let anything, including a formidable personal challenge, tie her down. But she meets her match in Jamie Randall, whose relentless and nearly infallible charm serve him well with the ladies and in the cutthroat world of pharmaceuticals sales. Maggie and Jamie’s evolving relationship takes them both by surprise, as they find themselves under the influence of the ultimate drug: love.

This synopsis is sweet, intriguing and well written but the movie doesn’t come close. There are three main problems with the movie which prevent it from being a great, romantic and funny movie.

The first is the nudity. Jake himself has described the movie as a nude fest and that is exactly what it is. The nudity however is just distracting and the abundance of it doesn’t make much sense. Why would a genuinely smart movie want you to focus on the nude bits and pieces of its talented actors? It was a marketing ploy that didn’t come off too well for me. I love Jake and I loved his bare, muscle chest in the Prince of Persia but in this movie, I never thought, wow, sexy! It just wasn’t that appealing. Maybe it’s because Jake’s character wasn’t some sort of charismatic and sexy salesman, he was goofy and annoying. Why would they think goofy and annoying goes well with nudity? Beats me. So for me, the nudity was just irritating and unnecessarily distracting. The movie could have done with less of all that display.

The second issue I had with the movie is the corny plot and lines. Talk about predictable and sappy! Some of the lines were so corny I was on the verge of gagging. Check this out:

Maggie: I have places to see and things to do.

Jamie: And you will see the places you want to see, even if it means I have to carry you.

OMG! For real? The movie was littered with such ridiculously cringe-worthy lines. To quote one critic, it seems this was some sort of first draft of the script. It could definitely have done with a few more iterations.

The third issue I had was with the supporting actors. A movie can be about two people, and yet still have strong, meaningful supporting actors. Love and Other Drugs sinks deeply into rom-com clichés with its supporting cast. Does everyone really have a loser-ish sidekick? Honestly? I think I am sick and tired of romantic comedies that perpetuate the notion of loser-ish sidekicks. It’s now ridiculous. And isn’t it a tad offensive that the perpetual sidekick is either black, overweight or not particularly good looking; or a combination of the above? I don’t get it and I think smart directors and scriptwriters need to move away from the abused sidekick cliché. Enough!

I think I may have liked Love and Other Drugs a little more if I hadn’t watched Notting Hill (Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant) for the 100th time recently. That is one of my favorite romantic movies of all time! The script was smart and witty, and the cast was endearing. It was sweet without being syrupy and it worked. Why can’t we have more romantic movies like that? I watched The Killers recently and I wanted to puke. That was one of the worst movies of the year for me. Romantic movies need to be able to stand the test of time and I know I won’t be watching Love and Other Drugs repeatedly. That’s for sure.

Grade: C.