Missing The Zest: Love & Other Drugs

Missing The Zest: Love & Other Drugs

Static Mass Rating: 2/5

Release date (UK): December 29th 2010
Certificate (UK): 15
Running time: 112 minutes

Director: Edward Zwick

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria

I’m an avid ‘rom-com’ watcher, and as soon as I saw the trailer for Love & Other Drugs I was immediately conned into what Hollywood dreams of – a desperation to watch the movie based on a few of the best momentary flashes of the film.

Well, I paid the price for my naiveté. The reality was a rather dull and dreary version of what I had seen on my computer.

Love & Other DrugsAnne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal star alongside each other in an offbeat romantic comedy based on Jamie Reidy’s memoirs Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman. Set in the 1990’s, it’s about the pharmaceutical business, love and illness.

Gyllenhaal plays Jamie, your typical non-committal Casanova who knows every secret there is to know about getting girls, until he meets his match: Maggie (Hathaway). As their romance heats up, the fact that Maggie has the beginnings of Parkinson’s disease becomes the overriding factor in their fight to stay together whilst they both try to deal with their own commitment issues. Cue angst, separations and heartbreak as we wait to see if their love prevails.

Love & Other DrugsWhile generally enjoyable to watch, I found it too predictable to have been made in the current climate when so many other films are breaking boundaries and going against the audience’s expectations. Films like 500 Days Of Summer (Directed by Marc Webb) to make a fair comparison, refreshingly brought audiences a new ending to the classic happy-ever-after genre. Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) does not end up with the girl of his dreams and has to carry on, as we all do, and find someone else to be his everything.

Love & Other DrugsWhat’s more, director Edward Zwick’s last film happened to be the award winning Blood Diamond. Whilst Blood Diamond reveals, albeit in a glossy Hollywood kind of way, the reality of how far the west will go in their economic pursuits, Love & Other Drugs reveals very little apart from what we all know never happens in real life – the bad guy turns good. In the end, providing women everywhere with false hope and lies, and men everywhere, a good nap. As Blood Diamond induces feelings of tension, thrill and empathy for its heroines, Love & Other Drugs induces a need for it to end soon.

Love & Other DrugsLove & Other Drugs does have its merits though, notably a strong cast of supporting characters. Jamie’s mentor, Bruce (Oliver Platt), guides him through his job and has influence on his good-guy transformation in a fatherly way, providing some amusing scenes in the local bar.

Meanwhile, Jamies’s geeky younger brother, Josh (Josh Gad) brings a comical twist to the film, playing a similar kind of role as Alan, the brother-in-law, in The Hangover (Zach Galifianakis).

Maybe I’m being too cynical, but I think overall it was the disappointing cliché ending that let them down. They had the right recipe for an original and a lively romantic comedy but it seems they forgot the zest.

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