Oh look, it's a quirky romantic comedy starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. Or is it? The description on the box implies it. The trailer implies it too. But underneath all the cliché is quite a dramatic turn that made this not quite your ordinary rom-com.
Gyllenhaal plays Jamie, a cocky, bad boy electronics salesman who gets fired from his job because he's a cocky bad boy who screws loads of women, including the boss' wife. So instead he turns his hand to becoming a cocky, bad boy pharmaceuticals salesman, because that makes more money and he can still screw loads of women. It was really a good indication for me of how the movie was gonna go when it started out with Gyllenhaal strutting his asshole self in front of swooning females. Oooh, he thinks he's sexy now, but surely there'll be some revelation that will change his ways.
Of course, he meets his match in Maggie, played by Hathaway, a confident sassy girl who ends up just wanting copious amounts of sex with him with no strings attached. Of course, I cry, the standard fuck buddy movie, until one of the two realises they want to take things further, and dramatic consequences occur before they get back together in the end anyway.
There's one catch though, Maggie has early onset Parkinson's disease. So while the first half of the movie sinks into quirky comedy cliché, the latter half delves a lot deeper into the consequences of the disease, and the strain that it puts upon the couple's relationship. This is where Love And Other Drugs shines. Both Gyllenhaal and Hathaway have had some great dramatic roles in the past, and this movie lets them showcase both their dramatic and comedic side. Some of the jokes were quite funny, but the movie slowed down beautifully in the penultimate acts to portray some genuine emotion.
There's a whole side story about the rise of Viagra and Jamie's success with selling it, and it doesn't really seem to fit into the rest of the story, but once you realise that this movie is based on a non-fiction book you can easily forgive it. Sometimes it's good to not have everything tie in together, because life isn't just a series of completely interwoven events. Makes it seem a lot more real. And while Jamie's work life doesn't really have any relation to what's happening in his relationship, it provides a good cutaway from the dramatic happenings by providing some comic relief at times.
Sadly, the movie doesn't quite end on the high note it reaches in most of the latter half, shifting back into the much more comfortable romantic comedy ending scenario. Not to say it's entirely a bad ending, but I wasn't expecting it to shift so obviously back into cliché territory. Still, Love And Other Drugs is a lot better than I expected, and is worth a watch if you like your romantic movies but want something a little bit different, and more adult. It'll even keep the otherwise bored men occupied too, because you get to see Hathaway's boobies about once every ten minutes.
My rating: 3/5