There were only two reasons why I had the slightest interest in the alleged romantic-comedy-drama Love and Other Drugs: Anne Hathaway. I call her Yummy Girl and find her just delish and when it was heavily hyped that she was naked (i.e. nekkid, nude, showing the goodies) for 40% of the movie, I was willing to overlook my natural aversion to rom-coms to see it. Yes, I'm a pig who will sell out for a look at teh bewbz. Yummy Yummy Girl boobs.
To properly tear this thing a new one, we need to look at how it was sold:
OK, it looks like a rom-com about a playboy (Jake "Peter Sarsgaard's brother-in-law" Gyllenhaal) sales rep for Viagra who meets a cute babe and falls in love with her, but - oh noes! - she gets sick and he must love her even more even though she runs away but they'll probably live happily ever after since these sort of movies rarely end up in a murder-suicide. Right?
Here's the way it really goes: Jake's a charmer selling boom boxes and big HDTVs in the mid-Nineties. If you're already thinking that one of those things was big in the Eighties and the other wasn't invented yet, you're on my wavelength about how sloppy the details are. After he loses his job for banging a co-worker's girlfriend in the stockroom, we see his family who find him such a disappointment compared to his fat, slovenly brother (Josh Gad, who should change his name to Egad) who is a dot-com millionaire when he looks barely able to spell "Vic 20."
After being set up with a job selling Pfizer pharmaceuticals, we see him turning on the charm with the receptionists to get at the doctors he needs to write prescriptions for Pfizer's Zoloft over competing Prozac. While shadowing a doctor under the guise of being an intern, he meets Yummy Girl, a 26-year-old artist with early-onset Parkinson's. Right away, he knows she's sick and she details all the drugs she needs to take. She pays for her care with a wad of cash, but we are never shown how she's able to afford all this and her giant loft apartment on her wages at a coffee shop. (Perhaps she's turning tricks in the alley?)
She's blunt about just wanting to have sex without entanglements (since she's got a degenerative disease, I suppose, and not that she's just a garden tool) and I'm watching this thinking, "OK!" They proceed to rut about and he falls in love with her and then Viagra comes out and sells itself - seriously, I could sell Magic Boner Pills® when otherwise I'd have trouble selling water to people on fire, so what's Jake's feat? - and Fat Brother's wife kicks him out so he comes to sleep on Jake's couch (that's the scene at the end of the trailer) because that's what successful millionaires do and....wait, what?
Movies usually live and die on their scripts and Love and Other Drugs dies a most horrible death due to disjointed and hackneyed writing. The first 10 minutes are like a bad impression of Aaron Sorkin at his soapboxing worst as characters bray paragraphs of facts and figures at each other like the people with search overload in the Bing commercials. It doesn't get any better as it lurches from incident to episode to theme to whatever and back. There's a section when YG goes to an "unconvention" where we see a parade of Parkinson's patients showing us how funny and human they are so don't look at them as freaks, you judgmental audience members! As if that's not enough, there is a whole passage which devolves into Lifetime shmaltz territory as Jake flies YG all over the country trying to find a cure, which also informs his final decisions in the movie.
The only thing that saves Love and Other Drugs from being an unmitigated disaster is the appealing stars. Jake isn't Donnie Darko and Anne is just magnetic to watch with her big brown eyes and voluptuous lips and alabaster skin and.....................OK, I'm back from my bunk. Where was I? Oh yeah, she's really good at making her character someone who want to hang with even though nothing that the script puts her through is believable. She's so appealing that it made me want to stick with it despite the lousy writing.
Really early on I was starting to feel bad for Jake and YG because the script was such hacky crap that's tonally all over the map. For example, after a breakup, Jake goes to a pajama party (read: orgy) and the physician host gives a little speech about how it sucks being a doctor with all the patients he needs to see every day and all the paperwork involved cuz that's what you do at an orgy. This leads to Jake having a three-way almost against his will, Fat Brother getting laid by some hottie who as the IQ of an air fern, and then Jake having the inevitable Extra Long-Lasting Viagra Boner which makes for wacky fun! Not.
The lumpy structure - it felt like it had six acts and more endings than Lord of the Rings - and general scattershot tension between rom-com and weeper and broad comedy conventions render Love and Other Drugs dead on arrival. And if you're still interested to see Yummy Girl's yummy girls, dude, this is the Internet - go find 'em and save your time. Besides, there's not THAT much skin compared to movies from the Eighties or whatever Kate Winslet's doing now. It's just that it's such a rarity for A-list talented actresses to give up the goodies, it made over-hyped headlines.
Score: 2/10. Watch on a friend's cable so you can make fun of it whenever Yummy Girl isn't showing her wares.
My girlfriend has been informed that in my ideal three-way, the other girl will be Anne Hathaway. (The first is Olivia Wilde.)