Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway star in “Love and Other Drugs,” a romantic comedy-drama set in the late 1990s about a womanizing pharmaceutical salesman and a free-spirited artist with early-onset Parkinson’s disease. Jamie Randall (Gyllenhaal) is a black sheep who quit medical school while being in a high-achieving family of doctors. After being fired from an electronics store for sleeping with his boss’s girlfriend, Jamie’s brother offers to get him a job in sales at pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer. Jamie accepts the offer, but cannot seem to make any sales. Eventually, Jamie’s partner, Bruce, sees his potential and tells Jamie that if he can convince a local general practitioner, Dr. Knight, to switch from prescribing Prozac to Zoloft, all other doctors will follow. While shadowing Dr. Knight, Jamie happens to meet Maggie Murdock (Hathaway), who has come to get refills on her medication. After a less than pleasant first meeting, Jamie and Maggie meet for a date and their physical relationship begins. From the beginning, it is clear that Maggie is extremely guarded and does not let people get close to her emotionally. Jamie is also reluctant to open up, but in a much less hostile way. Despite their many flaws, both characters are likeable and enjoyable to watch. As in all romantic films, there are many twists and turns in their relationship, and as Jamie learns more about Maggie’s past he also climbs the corporate ladder of Pfizer when he hits gold by selling record amounts of its new drug, Viagra.
This movie is a typical romantic comedy in many ways, but it also has enough variation from the norm to make it entertaining. One of the most interesting aspects of “Love and Other Drugs” is the inside look at the culture of pharmaceutical companies during this time. Hathaway’s character is also far from the typical “leading lady”, due to her sarcastic nature and the suffering she experiences from her disease. Both actors portray their characters in a manner that provides near-perfect balance between comedy and drama. Overall, this film is worth watching for anyone who likes romantic comedies, as well as fans of Hathaway and Gyllenhaal.