Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal are hotties with talent. And they maneuver through the daunting maze of shifting tones and intersecting plots of Love and Other Drugs like the pros they are. Gyllenhaal plays Jamie, a horndog pharmaceutical salesman during the late 1990’s rise of Viagra. Hathaway is Maggie, a free-spited artist diagnosed with stage-one Parkinson’s disease. They click, laugh, get naked, get angry, hold back tears, get naked again.
Director Ed Zwick, who co-wrote the script with frequent partner Marshall Herskovitz (remember Thirtysomething?) and Charles Randolph, seems to be flying around in futility trying to find a place to land. I hated the subplot with Jamie’s rich bore of a brother (Josh Gad), but liked the stuff with his parents, played by George Segal and the luminous Jill Clayburgh (in her last screen role). This movie is best treated like dim sum. Wait out the bad portions until a tastier dish is served. Let Hathaway be your guide. She’s a dynamo and just the no-bull actress to hold off the floodgates of puking sentimentality. Loosely based on Jamie Reidy’s memoir, Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, the movie shamelessly resorts to the theme of terminal illness that’s been propping up Hollywood romances since Camille morphed into Love Story. If you think Hathaway and Gyllenhaal are worth watching in anything, try Love and Other Drugs. It puts that theory to the test.