The humor of “Love and Other Drugs” is subversive and complex, its characters believable and its plot compelling. Unfortunately, it all goes to hell in the last few minutes, when characters seemingly undergo lobotomies and become totally different people. At least the soundtrack is incredible.
It’s a shame that such a good, truly funny movie completely loses its footing in the final scenes. “Love and Other Drugs” abandons its tried-and-true formula of being funny without resorting to gross-out humor and becomes almost unbearably sappy, its protagonists spouting clichéd declarations of love that would seem out of place even in a Taylor Swift song.
Therefore, the film– based on Jamie Reidy’s memoir “Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman”– is lucky that it has such a charismatic leading man in Jake Gyllenhaal, who manages to be funny in the role of Jamie, a professionally and sexually aggressive pharmaceutical salesman. Anne Hathaway tries a bit too hard as Maggie, the quintessential free spirit. Their chemistry is palpable and their relationship seems genuine until the film’s last few minutes, in which all previously established characterization is ignored in favor of a disappointingly saccharine ending.
Luckily, “Love and Other Drugs” has other actors who more than compensate for the film’s inconsistent ending. Oliver Platt and Hank Azaria are absolutely hilarious, and while Judy Greer more or less plays herself, she does it well. The film, set in 1996, is also notable for its apparent use of a checklist of 90s clichés: boomboxes, overalls, pagers and enormous cell phones are all featured prominently, at times feeling like an episode of “I Love the 90s.”
“Love and Other Drugs” is enthralling if a bit hackneyed, and if a loved one has ever been affected by a degenerative disease, it will hit uncomfortably close to home. Just do yourself a favor and ignore the overly sentimental ending.
Sarah B. Pilchick may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rating: 2.5/4 stars
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway
Directed By: Edward Zwick
MPAA Rating: R