Based of the best-selling book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman by Jamie Reidy, director/producer Edward Zwick brings us the movie, Love & Other Drugs. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a charming womanizer Jamie Randall, who finds himself on the fast track in the world of pharmaceuticals trying to push his ticket to the big time, Viagra. Anne Hathaway plays Maggie Murdock, who has early onset of stage one Parkinson’s, who is very familiar with how the pharmaceutical business works and has adapted to a life of somewhat settling, because of her debilitating disease.
After a run-in with each other at the doctor’s office, Jamie seems hell-bent on seeing Maggie again. The two hit it off sexually, and then surely find themselves connecting emotionally. For the lothario, Jamie has an anxiety attack after telling Maggie that he loves her, being that it was the first time he had said it to anyone in his life.
Both Gyllenhaal and Hathaway deliver authentic emotional performances. To see both of their characters go through the emotional process of letting someone get close to them and know their flaws feels honest in their craft.
Hathaway’s performance in the film is outstanding. Her character Maggie gives off this confident, self-assured, doesn’t-take-any-kind-of-crap vibe. Yet, the first shot of her fingers twitching on her coffee mug that she quickly tucks under her arm are the audience’s indication that she’s putting up a front to keep Jamie from bringing down her emotional wall.
Hathaway delivers quite the rollercoaster of emotions, yet Gyllenhaal is no slouch either. When we first meet Jamie, he’s been fired from his job, has no real sense of direction, yet still craves for approval from his parents, since his younger brother has done well in his professional life. To see him go from this guy that just gets by on his charm and looks to a man that starts tapping into an emotional side that he didn’t realize that he had is definitely a joy to witness.
I enjoyed all the DVD extras that were included along with the movie. There are deleted scenes, plus four vignettes.
In the first vignette called, “Love & Other Drugs, An Actor’s Discussion,” we hear from Gyllenhaal, Hathaway, Zwick (director/producer/screenwriter), Charles Randolph (producer/screenwriter), and Scott Stuper (screenwriter). My favorite part was hearing Gyllenhaal and Hathaway compare this movie to the time they spent shooting together on Brokeback Mountain. It’s nice to see both actors speak of one another with such affection.
In the second and third vignettes titled, “Beautifully Complex: Anne Hathaway is Maggie” and “Reformed Womanizer: Jake Gyllenhaal is Jamie,” both actors discuss their individual characters at length.
In the final vignette, “Selling Love & Other Drugs,” we hear from Jamie Reidy, the author of Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, who was on set to give Gyllenhaal pointers about how he should be playing his character.
Love & Other Drugs was definitely not the movie I was expecting. In the trailer, all I gathered was that the movie had two gorgeous actors in the leading roles, one of which played a Viagra salesman, and that there was a lot of sex and somewhat gratuitous nudity.
The movie I watched included these things, but also included an intimacy between two people that were trying so hard not to fall in love, yet managed to break through each other’s walls and fell anyhow. The movie I watched blew any preconceived notions I had made prior to viewing it out of the water.