Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Josh Gad
Director: Edward Zwick
Running Time: 112 mins
Love & Other Drugs is an American film about a man who gets a job as a drug rep with Pfizer, and soon begins to climb the ranks of the organisation, all the while becoming romantically involved with a young woman suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
While it’s not exactly the fluffiest Hollywood rom-com ever made, Love & Other Drugs offers up an interesting blend of fun-loving genre conventions and some more challenging drama, brought to life with a collection of charismatic performances and a sharp screenplay throughout.
But although this isn’t exactly the most easy-going of romantic comedies, Love & Other Drugs has more than enough of the classic genre tropes to keep fans of the genre entertained, impressively combining the sillier, fluffier elements of Hollywood rom-coms with a plot that has a lot more to offer than a generic love story.
There’s a lot to like about this movie, and one of the most likable things about it is definitely the performances. In the lead role, Jake Gyllenhaal brings an irreverent charisma to the table that makes him a convincingly heartless medicine peddler for Pfizer, but equally a heartfelt individual whose soft side opens up when he meets a woman suffering in pain.
That woman is played by Anne Hathaway, who often steals the show with a performance that’s both strikingly gritty and really quite sweet. She’s more than just a damsel in distress who Gyllenhaal comes to save, and really delivers with the screenplay’s sharp and cutting dialogue.
That leads into the impressive dark humour that Love & Other Drugs relies on throughout to make you laugh at what is at times a rather dark story. It’s a fun watch, and the charisma of its leads goes a long way to achieving that, but the film is more than just another fluffy, joke-filled rom-com.
Beyond the central romance, there’s a captivating story about a modern culture of overreliance on prescribed medicine, and the debaucherous, Wolf Of Wall Street-esque world that exists because of the immense profits gained from the millions of pills that doctors are often pressured to prescribe ever year.
The film shifts focus throughout, and can arguably be a little messy at times. However, the screenplay boasts impressive thematic depth, without going too far as to feel preachy or overbearing with its main messages, a real strong point that makes this film a thoroughly entertaining watch throughout.
With strong dark humour, great performances, a sharp screenplay, captivating drama and a little more to say than you might at first expect, Love & Other Drugs is a really strong film, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5 overall.