Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Book to Film Review: Love and Other Drugs

About the film
Love and Other Drugs is a comedy/ drama/ romance film that was released in 2010. The film is based on the non-fiction book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman by Jamie Reidy. The film has a run time of 112 minutes and has a rating of 15 due to language and sex scenes

Jamie has a reputation for being a player and it is well deserved. He even gets fired from his job at an electrical store due to his playboy antics but with the help of his brother, Jamie manages to land a job as a pharmaceuticals salesman, which as it turns out, he is pretty good at. In order to be a huge success, Jamie must convince Dr. Knight to prescribe Zoloft instead of Prozac so that other doctors will follow his lead. Using his reputation to help him, Jamie gains access to Dr. Knight through his female reception staff. 

While trying to do his job and get closer to Dr. Knight, Jamie meets one of his patients, Maggie Murdock, who comes over quite crazy to begin with. What Jamie doesn't know though is that Maggie has Parkinson's disease and this is what is standing in the way of them getting to know each other and have a relationship. While trying to finally be successful in a career, Jamie must deal with his feelings for Maggie and decide whether or not she is worth the fight.

What I thought
When I first saw the trailer for this film, I wasn't overly impressed and not really that bothered about watching it. I do love Jake Gyllenhaal though and he was the only real reason why I changed my mind and decided to watch it. The trailer for this film makes it out to be much more of a comedy than it actually is. Yes, there are some quite funny parts but it isn't really what the film is about. I was expecting some lame rom-com with similarities to many other films I have seen in this genre but I certainly wasn't prepared for what I was about to watch. Love and Other Drugs is so much more than your average rom-com. 

I don't really know too much about Parkinson's disease so when this part of the film was revealed, I didn't completely understand what was going on. As the film carried on though, Maggie's symptoms are shown more thoroughly and I could understand why, as a character, she acted how she did. The progression of Maggie's symptoms are quite slow as the film does span over quite a few years but it was interesting to see what changes happened over time and how these would affect a person's every day life. I certainly know more about this disease for watching this film. Also, the fact that Maggie had Parkinson's was a complete shock and I wasn't expecting this twist in the plot as it isn't mentioned at all in the trailer. 

Anne Hathaway is completely amazing as Maggie. Hathaway is an actress who I have liked in nearly everything I have seen of hers so I had quite high hopes for her performance in this film and I wasn't disappointed at all. I think that this was quite a hard role to play and it could have been butchered by some other actress and because of this, Hathaway was a perfect choice. Never was her character overplayed. Hathaway showcased the symptoms of Parkinson's really well and even the slightest movement would show just how much pain she was in and how much she was struggling, even when she was determined for no one else to know this. Maggie is someone who wants to be strong and independent with a fire inside of her but then at other times, it was so clear how vulnerable and scared she was of what was happening to her. Although Hathaway didn't win the Oscar for this film, I was glad to see that she did win one award, a Satellite Award. Better than nothing! 

I love Jake Gyllenhaal in everything he has ever been in and as I said earlier, he was the reason I watched this film. While he is good as Jamie, making the most of his natural charm and crooked smile, he was outshined by Hathaway. Unfortunately, I think many other actors could have played this role to the same ability and it wouldn't have mattered who, as the story is more about Maggie than him. The chemistry between the two was fantastic though so it was nice to see main leads being able to work together so well. Unlike many rom-coms, this one is not aimed at teenagers. There are many sex scenes throughout the film and while I don't think they were all needed, it did make a change to see a film so realistic. The sex part of Jamie and Maggie's relationship has a big impact on their lives and characters so at least these scenes were used well within the story. Also, shots of Gyllenhaal's bum did not go unnoticed! 

Jamie's brother, Josh, was the downfall of this film for me. Due to Love and Other Drugs being classed as a romantic comedy, I feel as though this character was only used to provide some extremely cheap laughs. As a character, he is crude and too in your face and grated on me immensely. From the off, I couldn't stand him and was hoping that he wasn't going to play a large part in the story and while he doesn't, he is in it quite a lot for someone without meaning. I would have much preferred for this character to have not been in the film at all and for more time to have been spent on Maggie's condition and what effect it had on her life and relationship with Jamie. 

As much as I enjoyed this film, it does have its problems. It is quite long for what it is and I think it was quite drawn out with time wasted on scenes which weren't needed. Some of Jamie and Maggie's problems are revisited over and over again and by the end, I was kind of bored of seeing them argue about the same things. Surely different problems could have been thought of or researched in relation to Maggie's illness and used better than a couple arguing about silly things which didn't really mean anything. The mix of romance, drama and comedy didn't work perfectly and I would have much preferred for this to not be a comedy at all. Sometimes the crude jokes ruined the feel of the whole film and made it seem quite disjointed at times. 

This film was not what I expected at all considering the way it was advertised. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed it and probably more than I would have if it had been what I thought it was. Love and Other Drugs is a great film and one not to be missed!

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