Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Love & Other Drugs

Although the ads for Love & Other Drugs completely failed to convince me it would be a movie I’d enjoy, I later read an interview with the author of Hard Sell (the book upon which the movie is based) and thought the story sounded interesting. So when I recently raided my sister’s DVD collection to celebrate the start of holidays I thought I’d give the film a go based on what (little) I knew of the book and on the fact that it was now allowed to be terrible because I‘d paid no money to see it. The film took a long time – like, a  loooong time – to grab me; a lot of the first half of the movie is pretty much an extended montage of Jake Gyllenhaal (who plays Jamie) having sex with various women, so I found myself thinking very little about the movie and instead wondering: 

1) Are there really are women out there who cannot help but jump into bed with whatever rugged man smiles vaguely in their direction? Sure there may be some such women out there, but to portray all women as being turned to randy mush in Gyllenhaal’s presence seems more like someone’s fantasy than someone’s reality. I tend to prefer reality in movies, and especially in movies that are based on a non-fiction book.

2) Why is it that couples in movies (I’m sure there are other examples, although I can think of absolutely none right now) have lots and lots of sex while they don’t know/like each other that much, and then after they start to fall in love the sex is replaced with sweet scenes of board-game-playing and food-eating and conversation and snuggling on couches while reading books? This seems backward to me. It’s quite possible that there was just as much sex in the second half of the movie, but I’d become so desensitised to the sight of bare bottoms that I merely yawned and went to refill my glass, however I’m pretty sure that the amount of sex decreased as their feelings for each other increased. And this strikes me as being odd.

3) How poorly must this film be engaging and entertaining me if I’m thinking through all of this while it’s still on?

I did consider turning the movie off a few times, wondering where it could possibly go that would justify where it’d been, but there’s a turning point where the characters become more real and the story finally chooses a clear direction in which to head and you realise that Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway are actually quite talented actors and then all of the sudden they’re crying and you’re crying and you turn it off thinking, WOW – that was weird, but much better than I was expecting. And the end was good mainly because the beginning was boring; you have to sit through the emptiness to appreciate the depth. Maybe.

This isn’t a great film, but it’s not a bad film, either, and it’s certainly not as bad as you may think it is even halfway through it when your mind is still wandering and you have no idea what the point of it all is. My advice, therefore, is this: if you’re looking for a movie to watch, pick something else. But, if you find yourself watching this one and are at the 40 minute mark and considering switching it off, don’t. It’s worth persisting with, and the end does feel like a reward for those who were after a rom-com and made it through the beginning. I give the first half of the movie a 3 out of 10, and the second half a 7 - for those who aren’t at all mathematical, that’s an average of meh.


  1. Good review. I shan't be watching it, then.

  2. Ha! I love your scoring system!