Friday, September 9, 2011

Love and Other Drugs Takes Gyllenhaal High, Hathaway Low

Love and Other Drugs comes at you in waves. There are parts that are funny, parts that are unbelievably cheesy, parts that are questionably written and acted, and parts that are really powerful.

I was won over particularly by the strong (the "powerful part") ending. But it was sometimes a struggle to get there over the course of this off-and-on relationship between Jake Gyllenhaal (whose previous highlights are pretty high in Donnie Darko, Brokeback Mountain, and Jarhead) and Anne Hathaway.

The film is definitely one of the better ones ever made as far as exposing the way the pharmaceutical industry works. It's also probably the best one to ever educate an audience about the very-serious Parkinson's disease. So those are both pretty noble traits.

On the flip side, the fact that it required a lead actress who would be naked a lot of time probably narrowed the candidate field down quite a bit. Hathaway is annoying and really kind of unlikeable most of the time. Someone you could build up sympathy for might have made this an Academy Award-type contender.

Gyllenhaal is his usual excellent, whip-smart, and handsome self as a man making his way up Pfizer's corporate ladder. He masquerades as a shallow drug salesman before being uncovered as an actual human being, and a good one at that. Oliver Platt as a fellow drug salesman and Hank Azaria as a Viagra-gobbling big-time doctor are also just right for their roles.

I think the fact that I'm so torn between liking this movie and hating it means it gets a perfectly mediocre rating of ...

**1/2 out of ***** stars

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