The romantic comedy/drama LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS offers an extremely mixed bag for media-wise, discerning filmgoers. It features some of the most extensive nudity and frequent sex scenes of any mainstream major Hollywood release in years, while ultimately offering a powerful testament to love and commitment, in the face of caring for someone with a debilitating disease that can’t be cured.
The movie opens by following the exploits of ladies’ man Jamie (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) as he enters the fast-paced, highly lucrative world of pharmaceutical sales amid the mid-1990s boom times of Zoloft and Viagra. This opening establishes early on that Jamie’s constantly in pursuit of his next sexual conquest. Jamie is also constantly scamming his way from one sale to the next, particularly pursuing the business of a doctor (Hank Azaria) who finds he needs Jamie’s Viagra in order to keep up his own promiscuous lifestyle.
Jamie meets Maggie (Anne Hathaway) through the doctor, as she comes in for the extensive prescriptions needed to fight her rare case of early-onset Parkinson’s Disease. The two immediately engage in a heated relationship that she insists on keeping casual because she’s afraid of ever burdening a man with her lifelong care. After many complications, Jamie learns to tame his wild ways and convinces Maggie that he will always be by her side, even if he someday has to carry her everywhere she goes.
LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS features enormously appealing performances from Gyllenhaal and Hathaway, despite the fact they are nude or in various states of undress throughout much of the movie. While there are plot holes, such as the film not offering an explanation of how an artist like Maggie is able to afford a huge loft or has wads of cash at the ready for her medication, its dialogue is funny and its plot zips masterfully through the unique milieu of pharmaceutical sales. The movie is particularly strong in its ability to shift tones as the film takes a serious, emotional turn towards the end. [SPOILER ALERT] The final scene, in which Maggie confesses her fears of being a burden on even a life partner and Jamie convincingly swears his lifelong love and care for her, is a masterful moment that offers far more depth than most Hollywood depictions of relationships. While the sexual frankness in the other parts of the movie will no doubt turn away most moviegoers, the message at the end is commendable.
(PaPa, C, B, LLL, V, SSS, NN, A, DD, MM) Strong pagan worldview, mitigated by some moral, redemptive elements at the end stressing strong commitment, sacrifice and love in the face of debilitating disease; at least 63 obscenities and profanities (including several strong profanities); excessive sexual content includes frank discussions of sex, lead characters have several torrid sex scenes, male lead’s brother caught abusing himself while watching sex tape of leads, and man wakes up in bed with two women; lead characters are naked in several scenes, full-body but no images of private parts, rear nudity, upper female nudity, and male lead is seen with upper male nudity in several other scenes, including waking up with two naked women after a one-night stand threesome; light violence when two men fistfight humorously and woman angrily hits man with purse; some alcohol use; smoking marijuana; and, lying and deception are shown as key to being a good salesman.
LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS opens by following the exploits of ladies man Jamie as he enters the fast-paced, lucrative world of pharmaceutical sales in the mid-1990s boom times. This opening establishes that Jamie’s constantly pursuing his next sexual conquest. Jamie is also constantly scamming his way from one sale to the next, particularly pursuing the business of a doctor who buys Viagra for his promiscuous lifestyle. Jamie meets Maggie through the doctor when she comes in for the prescriptions needed to fight her rare early-onset Parkinson's Disease. The two engage in a heated relationship, but Maggie doesn’t want to burden any man with her condition. After many complications, Jamie tames his wild ways. He convinces Maggie he will always be by her side, even if he someday has to carry her everywhere she goes.
LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS offers an extremely mixed bag for media-wise viewers. It features some of the most extensive nudity and frequent sex scenes in a mainstream movie in years, while the ending offers a powerful testament to love and commitment. There is also excessive foul language, however, so the movie’s negative content ultimately is unacceptable.