Today: April 13, 2024

Love And Other Drugs DVD

A funny and refreshing rom-com that doesn’t so much re-invent the genre as give it a healthy enema.

A funny and refreshing
rom-com that doesn’t so much re-invent the genre as give it a healthy enema.

At
one point Love And Other Drugs was tipped for all manner of awards buzz, thanks
mainly to actor nominations for the two leads at this year’s Golden Globes. In hindsight this buzz
was misjudged, nevertheless the film is a hearty look at romance and the ways
in which losing control is all part of letting down your guard.

It
is 1996 and Jamie (Gyllenhaal) is a
medical school drop out now plying his trade as an up and coming pharmaceutical
rep. While trying to schmooze a potential doctor he meets free spirited Maggie
(Hathaway) who soon clocks that he
is not the intern he claims to be. Before long the two are rolling around on
her apartment floor together. But Maggie is in the early stages of Parkinson’s
disease and reluctant to let people into her life. As Jamie gets the break of
pimping a new wonder drug, Viagra, he begins to investigate Maggie’s illness in
more detail.

Romantic
comedies have not been director Edward
Zwick
’s modus operandi for over 20 years. Back in 1986 he did a good job
with About Last Night but since then
he has focused firmly on his war dramas and sweeping period pieces like Blood Diamond (2006) or The Last Samurai (2003). On this
evidence we have been missing out. First and foremost Love And Other Drugs is a
thoroughly enjoyable romantic comedy firmly aimed at an adult, rather than
teen, audience. Zwick was determined that the sexual encounters between Jamie
and Maggie, of which there are numerous, feel real. Asking his leading couple
to improvise with their clothes on. It works and furthermore gives us a
wonderfully comedic insight into these two characters.

However,
this is not some bawdy romp. The first half is rife with laugh out loud and
instantly quotable lines. Zwick handles the timing well while making nostalgic
use of a carefully selected 90s soundtrack. It is when the enforced ‘drama’
comes into play that the film feels like a story of two halves. Out the window
goes the fun and frolics and incomes a more serious tone that fails to live up
to the first half’s entertainment. Thankfully by this stage you have enough
invested in the characters to swallow the spoon fed pathos.

Above
all else Love And Other Drugs works thanks to the chemistry between two of
Hollywood’s darlings. Hathaway finds a nice cynicism that she has never been
allowed to express before. This acts as a natural barrier for Maggie’s fragile
state of mind and body. There are times when she delivers her lines with such
machine-gun like speed you wonder if she is destined to star in a Woody Allen movie. Gyllenhaal on the
other hand is effortlessly charming. Gone are the dark brooding ways of Donnie Darko (2001) and Brokeback Mountain (2005) and in comes
an infectious smile and enough charisma that it drips from the screen. Special
mention should also go to Josh Gad,
as Jamie’s brother, who manages to make an otherwise Frat boy character into
something with more heart and insecurities. It helps that he gets much of the
best lines as well.

Refreshingly
honest, while occasionally delving in to rom-com contrivances, Love And Other
Drugs is a shot in the arm to lift the spirits. Thanks to two wonderfully warm central performances this is a film that
will have some delightfully addicted.

To Pre-Order Love And Other Drugs On DVD Go Here Or On Blu-Ray Go Here

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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