Idiot Savant Online

John Lichman's third attempt at a personal blog and online savanting idiotic.

Love & Other Drugs

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Dir. Edward Zwick

The hand-drawn title card informing us we are in “1996” before our audio clue of the Spin Doctors’ Two Princes informs us this is indeed the mid-90s. Jamie (Jake Gyllenhaal’s abdominal muscles) is a slick salesman who, as Oliver Platt remarks a scant 15-minutes from this point, knows how “to swing his dick” for a sale. After some family exposition to introduce us to Jamie’s hilarious fat and nerdy brother Josh (Josh Gad) who designed something vaguely tech related engaged in the world of medicine, we’re onto Pfizer and Jamie’s new life as a salesman hawking designer drugs! And Jamie then sleeps with more women! And he sleeps with a nurse/secretary at a Doctor’s office in mid-to-central Ohio but may actually be filmed in Pennsylvania and then Maggie  (Anne Hatheway) shows up to flash us.

(Now is a good time to mention this is loosely based on the book, Hard Sell, which doesn’t get really funny until this section of the author’s bio: “He then spent five years with Eli Lilly’s Oncology Division, where he discovered there are far fewer jokes about chemotherapy than Viagra. Reidy was fired by Eli Lilly soon after publication of Love and Other Drugs.”)

Let’s go back to what we know: Maggie has stage one Parkinson’s, which means she will occasionally shake and hold back tears while Jamie looks on pensively, as if wondering whether he may have to wait another minute to have more sex. The book was a discreet tell-all about a tiny blue pill to make your dick hard. The film? A semi-alternate universe take on Brokeback Mountain where Anne Hatheway’s character didn’t have her gay husband’s face beaten in.

The sole stand-out line comes from a buxom blonde throwing a pajama party for other pharmaceutical folks where she introduces Jamie to her friend: “This is Tai. She’s Thai. And I happen to be Tai-curious.” Cue make-out. Ditto for everything delivered by Oliver Platt as the pseudo-mentor to Jamie who mainlines Tums before downing drink after drink, much like I should’ve been.

Thematically, there’s nothing here. Edward Zwick is a master is wankery ( home video camera footage is black and white with the frame rate stunted;a short while later, Jamie’s brother is whacking off to Jamie/Maggie’s amateur and rather ingenious sex tape). Aside from a brief soliloquy given by Hank Azaria’s Viagra-crazed doctor on insurance companies helping destroy lives, Love & Other Drugs is so painfully by the numbers that when the eventual Viagra joke about a “painful erection” happens, you’re glad the movie’s over in ten minutes.



Written by john lichman

November 29, 2010 at 12:48 pm

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