There has been a surge of new films released recently due to it being ‘that time of year’ again-The Oscars and Valentines Day-perfect excuse to visit the cinema, or rent a movie. But if you still haven’t seen some of the new releases don’t be fooled into thinking they are light hearted- Love and Other Drugs is supposed to be a more emotional take on the traditional Rom Com.
Love and Other Drugs could be mistaken for the typical feel-good romantic comedy, with its stereotypical Rom-com cast- Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway and a exceptionally basic plot line, bad boy meets girl, girl despises boy, girl fools for boy and the bad boy turns good. Simple. However when Parkinson’s-the neurological disease with no cure-is bought into the story it slightly changes.
Love and Other Drugs tells the story of the 1990’s prescriptive drug boom, a time when salesmen competed to push drugs to the doctors, Viagra and Zoloft were introduced and were flying off the shelves as ‘miracle drugs’. Its underlying message is how the drugs do work and that not all the salesmen turn out bad in the end. Jamie (Gyllenhaal) is that very salesmen, womanizing, pushy and deceiving yet he reluctantly falls for 26-year-old Maggie (Hathaway) the stereotypical boho yet cynical artist. The story is very clichéd, pushing the more shallow themes rather than focusing on the deeper issue of a young woman suffering with what is an incurable and typically older persons disease. This could have made the film deeper, more compelling and leave its audience with a more effective message.
As you would expect, after some trials and tribulations and some serious Pfizer product placement Jamie (Gyllenhaal) comes to terms with the fact he is in love with this young Parkinson’s sufferer and that this will consume his life, but there is nothing he could do about it.
Knowing the basic outline of the film, one would expect it to be tearful and emotive. It has a strong subject which if pushed it could have gone down the same route as Nick Cassavete’s The Notebook, yet it seems to only touch on the deeper issues. Gyllenhaal’s and Hathaway’s performance is uninspiring, as the audience experiences no real emotion from either and it all has a very glossed Hollywood feel, oh and a traditional happy ending.
Much more could have been made from this film, and personally I was expecting an impassioned movie capable of affecting its audience, yet we were merely left with a fleeting romantic plot which is easily forgettable.