What kind of movie is Love and Other Drugs? It’s incredibly hard to pin down what genre to put it in. Where Skyline felt like it was suffering from kleptomania, Love and Other Drugs seems to be suffering from a severe case of schizophrenia. The film is a cross between a romantic comedy, compelling drama, and soft-core pornography.
The movie follows Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhal, Prince of Persia and Brokeback Mountain), a pharmaceutical salesman in the late 90’s, whose salesmanship skills are diametrically opposed to his ability to sleep with every woman he meets. That is until he meets Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway, Princess Diaries), an energetic artist suffering from early onset Parkinson’s. Both characters then play the time-old dance of trying to maintain a relationship on a purely sexual level until it falls apart when they develop feelings for each other.
The first personality within the film manifests directly with the plot as a romantic comedy. Gyllenhaal’s brother, played by Josh Gad (The Rocker) comes in to sleep on Gyllenhaal’s couch and be the generally kooky character meant for comic relief. The whole “they don’t like each other, but then they eventually like each other, then they love each other” is kept intact throughout the film from nearly every romantic comedy ever made, with the exception of the one-dimensional characters.
Moving into the second voice in Love and other Drugs‘ head is the compelling drama. Gyllenhaal and Hathaway’s characters are both people not interested in anything out of a relationship but sex. Normally that’s as far as a romantic comedy goes, but the film takes it to a whole new level. Both characters are so incredibly well developed and well portrayed that it’s hard not to like them. Hathaway’s portrayal as a young woman with a crippling and disabling disease is on Oscar level. The audience shares in her pain and fear as to whether or not she could sustain a normal relationship as her body and mind slowly degenerate. This, coupled with Gyllenhaal’s brilliant portrayal as a man with almost no self-esteem for himself, which had been perpetuated since childhood, make them both the best portrayed nymphomaniacs since Austin Powers.
The last personality is the soft-core porn. Nearly every character that has a speaking line has a nude or sex scene in one way or another throughout the film. Hathaway, as remembered as the reluctant princess, has no problem constantly taking her clothes off. Even Gad, who was only the unappealing comic relief character, has a love scene with both a random woman and, extremely creepily, with himself. The nudity helps with the characterization of the believable nymphomaniacs, but at times feels completely unnecessary. The plot itself even at one point goes into the discovery and early distribution of Viagra, which gives more jokes for the romantic comedy and more sex scenes for the porn.
The film is good, but weird. The jumping between different genres makes it feel a little disorganized and fractured. There is a great movie inside of Love and Other Drugs, but it needed more editing before hitting the theaters. Maybe releasing three separate movies, one about a drug salesman falling in love, one about a woman with Parkinson’s learning how to trust and one to be released behind the counters at Blue Boutique.
Love and Other Drugs is rated R for naked people having a lot of sex, and language.