Saturday, January 01, 2011

Love and Other Drugs

Love and Other Drugs / Love and Other Drugs [direct translation in Finnish would be Rakkautta ja muita lääkkeitä]. USA © 2010 Twentieth Century Fox / Regency Enterprises / U.S.: Dune Entertainment. P: Pieter Jan Brugge, Marshall Herskovitz, Charles Randolph, Scott Stuber, Edward Zwick. D: Edward Zwick. SC: Charles Randolph, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz - based on the book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman (2005) by Jamie Reidy. DP: Steven Fierberg - source: Super 35 - digital intermediate 2k. PD: Patti Podesta. COST: Deborah Lynn Scott. Makeup: Vivian Baker. Hair: Cheryl Daniels. M: James Newton Howard. S: Jake Eberle. ED: Steven Rosenblum. LOC: Pittsburgh (Philadelphia). CAST: Jake Gyllenhaal (Jamie Randall), Anne Hathaway (Maggie Murdock), Josh Gad (Josh Randall), Judy Greer (Cindy), Gabriel Macht (Trey Hannigan), Oliver Platt (Bruce Jackson), Hank Azaria (Dr. Knight), George Segal (Dr. James Randall), Jill Clayburgh (Nancy Randall), Katheryn Winnick (Lisa), Jaimie Alexander (Carol), Nikki DeLoach (Christy). 112 min. Released in Finland by FS Film with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Anna-Leea Kaila / Saliven Gustavsson. Viewed at Tennispalatsi 11, Helsinki, 1 Jan 2011

The 1990s: the young salesman Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a shallow and cynical womanizer. Fired from an electronics store he lands a job with Pfizer in Pittsburgh. Jamie is a serial pick-up artist for casual sex, and he uses his charm to advance his sales. He even picks up a young patient suffering from Parkinson's disease, Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway). Disillusioned about her chances of a long term relationship Maggie enjoys casual affairs only. Jamie succeeds in his work with his ruthlessness, and the big breakthrough is the launching of Viagra in 1998. Witnessing rampant corruption, hedonism, and shallow relationships Jamie, who is the top salesman now, starts to distance himself from the lifestyle he has helped create. He rejects promotion and transfer to Chicago. In full awareness of the incurable and desperate forecast for Parkinson's disease he marries Maggie.

What I liked: 1. Satiric elements in the Pfizer sales convention and in the doctors' Chicago convention scenes. 2. Anne Hathaway's rich and complex performance as the young woman facing an overwhelming reality. 3. The healthy abandon in the sex scenes, the pride and joy of the beautiful nudity of the lovers.

What I found wanting: 1. The Prozac and Viagra lifestyles are juicy targets, but the satire is superficial and overdone. 2. The overwhelming corruption is portrayed in such an exaggerated way that the caricature loses impact. 3. The movie is a Bildungsroman of Jamie Randall's development to a deeper sense of life. He marries Maggie and starts again his medical studies. I like the final words of the film. But I don't find his change completely convincing. 4. The secondary characters remain largely one-note caricatures.

The visual quality via a 2k digital intermediate is mostly fine, but in long shots the loss of quality is evident.

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