Love and Other Drugs - 27th November 2010

What in the name of Leonard Rossiter's cheese cloth pants was this film meant to be about then hmmm?
It starts as a perfectly ok, throw-away, sort-of-comedy about a guy, played by werewolf faced, bland-as toast, recently buffed up for an action movie based on a video-game, Jake Gyllenhaal who has the gift of the gab, sells people junk they don't need, be it stereos or pharmaceuticals and sleeps with every implausibly attractive woman he comes across in a variety of forehead slappingly predictable and obvious sex scenes.
Then he meets Anne Hathaway's dungaree wearing fantasy woman who seemingly spends all day not working very hard at a crappy little cafe or lounging about in hardly any clothing arranging her, very trendy, polaroid pictures into hipster art in a loft apartment that would make Van Gogh audibly orgasm. She of course, calls him on his crap in a sassy and flirtatious way before explaining to him that all she wants is what he wants, a series of meaningless sexual conquests. Cue a never ending string of fairly graphically naked sex scenes which have little or nothing to do with much except blotting out the apparent oh-so-tragic pain of being them, which, in Gyllenhaal's case means making hundreds of thousands of dollars being number one sales man of, surely-sells-itself, boner pill Viagra and in Hathaway's case having to swan about doing absolutely nothing all day apart from repeatedly showing your breasts and fiddling with a photo.
So far so meh! and not even an over active, man please just loose weight, supporting role from Mr.Comic Relief himself, Oliver Platt could really elevate it much above, weirdly sexually graphic but not very distracting fluff.
Then somewhere along the line we realise oh no! Hathaway's got a disease! Hathaway has Parkinson's! She doesn't want to get close to anyone because she may, one day, need help from that person and oooh noooo she doesn't want to be a burden to anyone because she's so good and volunteers to go with old people up to Canada to get cheap meds and ahhhh she's been down this road with previous men, including, of course, Gyllenhaal's arch pharmaceutical rep rival and whinge, moan, whinge, moan, cry, moan... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
BANG! wake up!
Sorry about that but basically after a few more sex scenes, a break up, another handful of snore inducing sex scenes (including an obligatory one through fogged up, rain dripped glass), Hathaway doing her best shaky hands, I have Parkinson's really! routine and a montage of Gyllenhaal not wanting to accept her fate and so desperately trying to find a cure, followed by another smattering of self-absorbed self destruction with some moping, a ridiculous, I have never told anyone this before because I used to hide my depth behind my abundant shallowness, declaration of love which is followed by another break up and then some more make-up sex, all the time accompanied or interrupted by a not-very-funny sidekick turn by someone who is meant to be Gyllenhaal's brother but looks like a curly haired, fatter and less funny Jack Black, they finally decide, after Jake rides up next to Anne's bus in his porsche, stops the bus, gets on and declares more love while the old folks comically egg her on to just go for it, to be in love and stay together. The End..... and BREATHE!

As if my run on sentence just then didn't just prove that I couldn't get on board with this turgid, tedious, predictable arse belch of a film enough, then let me explain:
On the surface this attempts to be a strictly adult take (look there's nudity and swearing!) on the tale of the selfish philanderer who finds the woman of his dreams and despite her medical condition becomes the man he truly is by falling in love with her and pledging to take care of her because really, medical condition or not, we all need taking care of, even Jake 'oh look I am naked again, this work out regime wasn't wasted then' Gyllenhaal. Ladle in, what should've been, a decent bit of satire about the drug companies and health care in America and, especially timing wise, after the big health care debacle in the States, you'd have a hit rom-com/drama on your hands that will appeal to all women from 25 to 85.
The trouble is it is none of those things and less.
Much like Gyllenhaal's character apparently finds depth by the end of the film (why because he stops selling drugs and decides to go back to what his hugely over privileged family want him to do and go to medical school while also lazing about on Anne Hathaway??), so the film was meant to have become deep I suppose but much as, I suspect, three years down the line, ol' Jake, bored with Hathaway's enormous gob and 17 rows of perfect white gnashers, will scarper back to loose women and the thrill of the sell, so this film's supposed point never really holds any truth and it all ends up being a fairly mundane re-tread of every 'I love someone with a disease' movie.
We learn nothing, nothing changes and we never really grow to care about  these perfect people and their perfect hair. All that happens is we are secretly pelted with weak cliches and flimsy scenes strung together by some repetitive nudity all the while supposedly thinking we are watching something that, at least, attempts something a little adult beyond the usually sexually sterile Hollywood Rom-Com but we're really not, it has all the depth and substance of a child's cardboard paddling pool. I, for one, just sat there mostly thinking 'man, Jake Gyllenhaal looks like Eddie Munster, the werewolf child off the TV'
It was also another completely wasted opportunity because a film that could've been a 'Thank You for Smoking' for the Pharmaceutical industry ended up being a film that 13 year olds will watch certain scenes from to masturbate to when their parents are out buying groceries or, god forbid, working.
Also, they seem to have wasted the opportunity to do a good and poignant satire, simply so they could use the registered names of Pfizer and Viagra but by doing this and setting it in 96 to, I guess, give it some sort of historical reality, they were then unable to really go ahead a bite the hand that was, no doubt behind the scenes, feeding the whole thing anyway. Just another annoying trick played on us by the people who brought you restless leg syndrome and anti-depressent medication that can actually increase your chances of wanting to top yourself, i.e. our friends at the pharma companies.

For once the adage, if there is one, that 'tits maketh a movie' does not ring true. I never thought I would sit watching a film willing beyond all hope that Anne Hathaway would put her clothes back on and do something interesting! but congratulations Hollywood you made that very movie! Gyllenhaal is usually a bit better than this and I was really disappointed.
In the end though, obviously, it wasn't my choice of movie and so I was pleasantly pleased, when we got up out of our seats and headed to the diner, to find my wife and her friend were of a similar opinion as to the below averageness of the movie and I would have no problem voicing my opinion about what rubbish I thought it all was. They did, however, want Anne Hathaway's hair and my wife probably wished I looked more like Jake Gyllenhaal and less like a flabby, Lon Chaney style, beardy werewolf, still, can't have everything!

4 out of 10 foam filled cups of what appears to be mocha, cappa, frappa, flappychino but turns out to be just hot air and some dribbly milk.
Points from The Wife 4 out of 10 also as, she too, with a little hindsight had worked out just how this film really lacks substance of any kind.

Operation: Endgame - 30th November 2010

The Hangover - 26th November 2010