Despite the general consensus, I really enjoyed this film. Love and Other Drugs tells the story of ladies man Jamie (Jake Gyllenhaall) as he competes in the pharmaceutical sales world. In order to gain the approval of a doctor, he shadows his work life which leads him to meet Maggie (Ann Hathaway) a 26year old Parkinson's disease sufferer. After a great deal of causality in their relationship, deeper feelings begin to blossom.
Other than seeing a semi naked Jake, what I enjoyed about this film was the tone of originality and the character depiction. The story was told in a refreshing way, showing a great deal of the power in Maggie's hands. Jamie's character was written well. He was set up to be the biggest ladies man around, he treated women with no respect and yet we still warm to him. The writers manage to create some form of likeability which means we let him get away with his behaviour. After his first meeting with Maggie, he is brought down a peg as she beats him round the head with her bag. Even though this action is completely deserved, we immediately feel protective of our protagonist. I really like the way this set up has been done because I think the likeability of our protagonist is one of the most important components.
Jake Gyllenhaall and Ann Hathaway are both effortlessly watchable. They don't do anything especially great within their roles, except their openness in displaying their naked bodies, but similarly they don't do anything wrong in their roles either. Without sounding superficial, it is important for these actors to be good looking with hot bodies. Jamie's character would not be believable if he wasn't good looking, and equally, we would not believe that Jamie would pursue Maggie had she not been good looking. Having great bodies is merely for the audiences comfort, it is a safe assumption that no one would regularly enjoy seeing two fat, wrinkly bodies on screen.
I liked the inclusion of Jamie's brother to provide a bit of comic relief. However, although for several parts this did make me laugh, I felt that he was included merely for the cheap laughs. He did not add anything substantial to the story and it felt like the writers were trying too hard to force this film into the romantic comedy genre, when our two leads already did this. His character was pretty much exactly the same as Zach Galifanakis's in The Hangover, and at times it was as if we were watching a direct rip off of such.
Another major downfall of this film was the horrendous choice of soundtrack. For the most part, it was bearable; however their inclusion of music during the two/three poignant scenes in the character's relationship was absolutely awful. Whoever chose this piece of music should be shot. These scenes were important in demonstrating a change in character and a progression in their relationship. The non-diegetic music that played was the worst thing I'd ever heard. It is the type of music that would have been perfect for a big sickly cheese-fest movie, however the film was not this and in playing this music, it completely destroyed the tone the rest of the film had. As a result of this, instead of the moments being heartfelt and touching, they became very laughable.
I really enjoyed this film as a whole. I found it entertaining, I liked the characters and I liked the development of their relationship. I still, however think there are major flaws in the script. Maggie was a stage one sufferer of Parkinson's disease, and even though this was an interesting inclusion, it felt as if it was only included as a mere obstacle in their relationship. Whereas I feel this should have been a big part of the story, it seemed as if it was heavily cast aside and pushed more into the background. It would have been nice to see more of Maggie's struggle with this disease, and more of Jamie's concern about it. It felt as if the writer's got carried away with the love story, and that they only remembered to push her disease as problem towards the end to have it as a third act turning point.
Yes the ending was predictable, but that wasn't so much an issue for me. Most romantic films have predictable endings, because otherwise they wouldn't fit into said genre. The public like to see a character like Jamie's change and like to see a happy ending for Maggie's lonely self. This formula works and although sometimes it gets tiring watching the same play out, it felt necessary for this. It wasn't so much for the development of Jamie, but more for the development of Maggie and her acceptance to someone else in her life.
So yes. There are countless problems with this film, but that does not divert away from the enjoyment as a whole. It is charming, entertaining and funny. It has a small sense of originality and although many would argue much of the nudity was unnecessary, I believe it was a bold decision that paid off to the filmmaker's advantage. It made the relationship between the two seem a lot more real and comfortable. As well as this, I now completely fancy the pants of Jake Gyllenhaal and have deemed him worthy of Sara loving. 7/10