Monday, 28 February 2011

Love and Other Drugs 2010

Due to the overuse of the Pfizer name, as well as the repeated mention of various real-life drugs, I was misled into believing that Love and Other Drugs was the depiction of a true story, which made me instantly uncomfortable to comment on the lack of credibility of this so-called love story. Now that I know that only certain aspects of the film (that is, the male protagonist's career) have a connection with a real-life story, I am far more comfortable trashing this cliche-ridden, awfully cheesy film.

In short, Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a money-grabbing, promiscuous asshole, who works as a salesman for a pharmaceutical company (Pfizer) and falls in love with brazen photographer slash part-time waitress, Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway), who ironically suffers from a so-far-incurable Parkinson's disease (stage 1). Randall sticks by her, despite his usually asshole-like attitude towards everything else in life, thereby proving himself to be a better person than we ever expected him to be. Yawn! Oh and of course, abiding by what is slowly becoming a current trend in Hollywood 'rom-coms' (No Strings Attached 2010, The Ugly Truth 2009, amongst many others), Randall and Murdock are commitment-shy and want to have a healthy, sex-only relationship (how very European of them), till their beautiful hearts collectively let them down. Barf! This story arc allows the film makers artistic license to have Hathaway's breasts and Gyllenhaal's ass constantly in the audience's face. Gasp (the first time)! Ho-hum (every time after, which is basically most of the film)...

The film is by no means boring. There are some excellent lines, some funny situations, some endearing and some very silly characters. I even laughed out loud various times in the first half of the film. Gyllenhaal is sufficiently charming and suave and Hathaway pulls off a decent sexy lass. But it is the long list of loose ends and cliches that lets the film down big time. Characters with back stories that somehow pertain to their current lives, but are referred to in the vaguest terms; lame situations that have no purpose or conclusion except to inspire a sick laugh (Randall's Viagra-induced erection, Dr Knight's slight sex addiction, Randall's brother's pointless presence in his house etc - and why do we need to know about Trey Hannigan's relationship with Maggie?); the undying love between two people (and I am still perplexed about why exactly they are in love) that transcends all difficulties and emerges victorious. Compared to a Blue Valentine (reviewed here), where you understand how the relationship began and why it has to end, Love and Other Drugs explains nothing, answers nothing and expects the audience to suspend belief when Randall chases Murdock to the Canadian border to profess his love and propose to her, because she has made him believe that he is worth something. Oh boo-hoo! It would have been far more believable to see Randall leave Murdock for good, knowing that her health will only deteriorate and that life can only be downhill from here. That, though heartless, would have seemed far more plausible considering the lack of bonding between the characters. When will Hollywood have the guts to make a film about characters that are flawed, and yet so human?

Anyway, as far as this one's concerned, it's entertaining to watch, but by the time it ends, it's already too late to say 'WTF?' Watch for the sex and a few laughs; or avoid for the sake of sanity.

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