Love and Other Drugs


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Love and Other Drugs is a romantic dramedy starring Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal. He plays a hot-shot pharmaceutical rep who's pushing Viagra when it first hits the market, and she's a free-spirited artist with Parkinson's disease. You have undoubtedly heard of this film. The media, falling into a snare contrived by the film's publicists, latched onto the fact that the principals got naked a lot.  The publicity campaign for the film concentrated on two messages: (1) distinguished candidate for awards; (2) beautiful people naked. I think it was mismarketed. Before I watched it, I was under the impression that it was a weepy-ass dyin' woman flick laden with enough pretentiousness to catch the attention of the Oscar committee, and that the only possible reason for me to watch it was to see Anne Hathaway naked. That is a wrong impression. It is a completely mainstream entertainment film with none of the phony-baloney gravitas we associate with Oscar candidates. In fact, the first third of the film is great fun. It is satirical, funny, energetic and quite genuine, at least by rom-com standards. I really enjoyed the first third of the film.

And then disaster struck. Oh, it wasn't a disaster really. That's an exaggeration provoked by my disappointment that the film couldn't deliver on its early promise. Love and Other Drugs is a charming movie, but it eventually degenerates into a by-the-numbers romantic comedy, with all the requisite plot twists, musical cues and stock characters. The womanizing leading man stops drifting through life when he's finally struck by Cupid's arrow. He has a nerdy sidekick of a brother who would have been played by Curtis Armstrong in the 1980s. He breaks up with his lady love, then wins her back with a dramatic romantic gesture. He's pitted against an insufferable preppie asshole for the hand of the leading lady. To make that last element even more contrived, the Marmalard-in-residence competes with the leading man for customers as well as for the fair damsel. Now THERE's an efficient application of the "economy of characters" rule.

Some of those clichés are more annoying than others. The character who provides the professional and romantic competition for our hero is an underwritten one-dimensional jagoff who does not belong in a film with Oscar aspirations, but rather on the business end of the explosion when Bluto Blutarski squeezes a food zit. A century ago authors would give this kind of character a moustache to twirl menacingly as he tied the hapless heroine to a saw-bound log. The professional rivalry between the two men is integral to a sub-plot, but that could have been handled without making the competitor a soulless boor. In fact, it would have been much more interesting if the two men had been completely indistinguishable, thus giving Gyllenhaal's character a true challenge - trying to dislodge his older self from a firmly entrenched position.

While the business rivalry seems merely artificial, the romantic rivalry is utterly unnecessary. If Marmalard Jr had been competing with our hero solely for shelf space, many of the film's weaknesses would be ameliorated and absolutely nothing would be lost, or even changed, since no element of the romantic relationship between the principals relates to anything about the ex-boyfriend. No plot element would have required even the slightest modification if that part of the character had disappeared. Given the fact that such a simple change would have improved the film immeasurably, I got the impression the director ran out of patience with rewrites and decided to film an early draft.

Perhaps I'm being a bit unfair. The film seems unfinished, but even at that, Love and Other Drugs has enough good points to make it worthwhile for you guys as a date movie. Unlike most such fare, you won't hate it, you'll laugh a bit, you'll experience some some powerful moments, you'll see Anne Hathaway naked, and you might even get laid afterwards!

That alone should merit some kind of Oscar.

DVD Blu-Ray


2.5 Roger Ebert (of 4 stars)
49 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)
55 (of 100)


6.6 IMDB summary (of 10)
B Yahoo Movies


Box Office Mojo. It disappointed. Although it appeared in about 2500 theaters, it failed to reach the $10 million mark on its opening weekend. The final tally was a bit above $30 million.


Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal have several nude scenes.

  • Gyllenhaal's bum is seen more than once, and there is a fleeting look at his manhood.
  • Hathaway surrenders T&A in clear exposure. There is probably a bit of lower frontal exposure, but it is fleeting and dark.

There are also bare breasts from Jo Newman, and a bare bum from Christina Fandino.


Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


A good, not great romantic dramedy.