Who’s In It: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Hank Azaria, Oliver Platt, Gabriel Macht, Josh Gad, Judy Greer
The Basics: It’s the ‘90s and Jake Gyllenhaal is Jamie, a pharmaceutical salesman with a talent for closing deals and picking up ladies. When he meets an alluring Parkinson’s patient named Maggie (Anne Hathaway) in a doctor’s office, the two have a one-night stand that becomes a regular hook-up and eventually leads to love. But can their newfound relationship withstand the post-puppy love phase now that Jamie’s become a Viagra-selling wunderkind and Maggie’s illness is getting worse?
What’s The Deal: Love and Other Drugs is many movies all in one: A romantic dramedy, a pop-filled ‘90s period piece, a wannabe scathing satire of the pharmaceutical industry as exposed in Jamie Reidy’s nonfiction book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, from which writer-director Ed Zwick, Charles Randolph, and Zwick’s frequent collaborator Marshall Herskovitz adapted the script. Thanks to the film’s schizophrenic identity Zwick struggles to segue smoothly from sexy to serious to satirical, but he’s saved by stars Hathaway and Gyllenhaal; their chemistry is the constant in this meandering film, whether they’re rolling around nakedly in bed, crinkling their eyes at each other, breaking up, or making up.
Props For Taking It All Off: When I say that Hathaway and Gyllenhaal get naked, I mean they get really naked. Like, you-can-tell-which-machines-Jake’s-been-using-at-the-gym-naked. It’s all tastefully done and serves the story and all that, of course, and makes the usage of L-sheets in other films seem downright puritanical. The downside to all of this brash naughtiness: Zwick indulges himself with detours into Superbad territory with Viagra boners that won’t go away, masturbation gags, and pretty much every scene featuring Josh Gad as Gyllenhaal’s Jonah Hill-esque sex-obsessed brother.
The Ed Zwick Project It Feels Most Similar To: Thirtysomething, the show Zwick created with co-scripter Herskovitz before he turned to directing serious Oscar bait like Glory, Courage Under Fire, and The Last Samurai. It’s got the not-so-distant period setting, the backwards-looking exploration of generational angst, the ups and downs of young professionals in relationships. And of course, for every heavy dramatic beat there’s a shot of brash, racy humor to offset the tension – and it all wraps up with a recurring love theme hummed by Ally McBeal’s Vonda Shepard.
A Side Effect Of Watching Love And Other Drugs Just To See Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal Naked: You’ll learn more than you probably knew about the evils of the healthcare/drug industry, a world rife with morally dubious drug reps, opportunistic doctors, and sex-starved receptionists. Zwick plays up those caricatures for maximum effect, but also casts real-life Parkinson’s patients to tell their own inspirational stories of hardship and courage, a nice touch that gets serious about the debilitating illness for a hot second before continuing to use it as a plot point.