In case you didn’t know, Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal do a lot of shagging in this movie.
And they would have you believe from their junketeering that this is all in pursuit of ‘art’, that Love & Other Drugs is a racy snapshot of modern romance – that the nudity informs the bigger issues of fatal illness, the US healthcare system and true love. That they wouldn’t get their bits out for just any old project. Protesting too much? Yep.
Ignore the self-important buzz and you’ve essentially got a superior romcom disease-of-the-week drama with great chemistry between its leads and plenty of T&A. Which is no bad thing.
So why the pretensions? Maybe it’s because Edward Zwick’s (Defiance) film is adapted from Jamie Reidy’s real-life memoirs Hard Sell: The Evolution Of A Viagra Salesman, a sharp catalogue of misdeeds in the American pharmaceutical industry.
Maybe it’s because Gyllenhaal’s bed-hopping meds-flogger Jamie falls for no-strings sex partner Maggie (Hathaway) who also happens to have Parkinson’s.
Maybe it’s because tonal shifts sweep the film into a conversation about drug dependence in the middle of post-coital montages and love. Deep, right?
But with the mood-manipulating soundtrack music, a gross-out brother (Josh Gad) and enough awkward sex scenes to ensure no one’s nudity clauses are compromised, it’s hard to view this as anything other than a smart update of Zwick’s About Last Night (1986).
Though Hathaway over-eggs her ‘ill’ scenes and Jake’s japing is pure cringe, when they’re together the duo generate serious sparks.
Sharp, softcore smutty, sweet and silly, Love & Other Drugs, like Viagra, provides an easy ‘up’ on a slow weekend.