Love and Other Drugs

 
(i)

 

Sex, drugs, and disease clash in racy, uneven romcom.
  • Review Date: November 21, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 112 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

At first the movie celebrates commitment-free sex and wealth achieved through exploitation, but eventually Jamie and Maggie fall in love. In order to stay together, they must learn to be true to themselves and to value empathy, tolerance, and selflessness.

Positive role models

Jamie starts out as a serial seducer. He's also a salesman who's more interested in making money than in helping people or doing a job he loves. Meanwhile, Maggie is afraid to let anyone get close to her because of her health. But when they fall in love, they slowly learn to value love rather than sex, passion rather than wealth, and empathy rather than selfishness.

Violence

Jamie occasionally slaps and smacks his annoying brother, with no real damage.

Sex

Jamie is a serial seducer who has sex with several different women -- and sometimes multiple partners. He falls in love with Maggie and has sex with her many times. Viewers see Jamie naked from head to foot (buttocks are shown, but no genitalia); Maggie is also naked several times (breasts are shown). Other minor female characters are seen in various stages of nudity. There's kissing, clothes being ripped off, suggestions of oral sex, minor thrusting, orgasmic moaning, and couples lying in bed (or on the floor) after sex. Also strong, constant sex talk, including conversations about Viagara and erections.

Language

Very strong language, including many uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "c--k," "laid," "p---y," "t-ts," "ass," "a--hole," "hell," "bitch," "damn," "goddamn," "dick," "slut," "oh my God," "goddamn," and "Jesus" (as an exclamation).

Consumerism

Jamie works for Pfizer; many drugs are referenced by name brand -- including Zoloft, Prozac, and Viagra -- and play a huge role in the movie. Characters eat Pop Tarts for breakfast in one scene.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Prescription drugs are a huge part of the plot, but characters don't overindulge, and the main characters rarely take any drugs at all -- though Jamie tries Viagra at a party and has a comically bad reaction. A homeless man takes Prozac, and it eventually improves his life. Characters drink quite often, including wine, whiskey, and beer. After a bad day, Maggie swills a bottle of vodka in an attempt to get sloppy drunk and wash away her pain. Characters discuss having taken Ritalin as children.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this racy romantic comedy based on Jamie Reidy's memoir about his time as a pharmaceutical rep for Pfizer is filled with nudity (including erstwhile Princess Diaries star Anne Hathaway's breasts), sex, and sex talk. There's also a fair bit of drinking (sometimes to excess), heavy swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t"), and many references to prescription drugs -- though the main characters are rarely seen taking them. And it's not all laughs: There's a serious subplot about Parkinson's disease. Ultimately, though, the movie has a good heart, and the characters do learn to become better people.

What's the story?

After serial seducer Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal) loses his job selling audio equipment when he sleeps with the boss' girlfriend, he gets hired as a pharmaceutical rep for Pfizer -- and quickly finds that his way with the ladies helps get his foot in the door. Then he meets Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway), and she steals his heart, despite the fact that she has stage one Parkinson's disease. With Viagra on the way and untold wealth to be made, can shallow Jamie knuckle down and build a life with Maggie? And can Maggie trust that he won't run away when the going gets tough?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Juggling the tricky mix of romantic comedy, sentiment, and serious issues is a job for a very graceful filmmaker (like, say Ernst Lubitsch). Unfortunately, heavy-handed director/co-writer Edward Zwick is about as far from that job description as possible. In LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS, he relies on too many obvious romantic comedy staples -- like the "goofy best friend" -- and then flips over to heartstring-plucking moments relating to Parkinson's disease. (All of which is spiced up with tons of sex and language.)

In between, the movie tries to strike up some chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Hathaway, who previously played an unhappily married couple in Brokeback Mountain. It has its moments. Gyllenhaal never quite loses himself in his character, but Hathaway goes all the way. She gives a marvelously instinctive performance that brings Maggie to life, even when the movie doesn't.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the way the movie treats sex. The characters think and talk a lot about it and are seen having sex quite often. What role does it play in their relationship? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values surrounding sex and relationships.

  • The movie was based on someone's real-life experiences. Does that make it a true story? How much of the movie feels "true"? Why might filmmakers change some parts of it?

  • Why would Maggie be so reluctant to accept that Jamie could love her?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 24, 2010
DVD release date:March 1, 2011
Cast:Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal, Oliver Platt
Director:Edward Zwick
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Romance
Run time:112 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, and some drug material

This review of Love and Other Drugs was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byjustamomof2 April 17, 2011
 

Not a teen movie!

Only the adults in the household watched this movie, but it was iffy for us. There is a LOT of nudity and sex (duh) in the movie, but I was taken aback by just how much there was. Very thinly-veiled story-line. I would not recommend it for teens or as a date-movie.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bykatydid9999 January 7, 2011
 

Great story...WAY more sex than necessary

I thought this movie had a great, heartwrenching story that was almost lost by the gratuitous amount of sex. So much of this story is worth hearing, and enligtening, but the frequent graphic sex scenes really detract from the overall tone. Jake Gyllenhall & Anne Hathaway both did a fantastic job acting, and the more serious scenes were spot on and truly heart wrenching.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Parent of a 3, 6, and 8 year old Written byarnetts December 5, 2010
 

Even adults should beware

I wish I would have read the reviews before seeing this movie. Waaaaaaay too much sex and exploitation. This could have been done well without all the sex--the Parkinson's subplot and on-screen chemistry between Gyllenhaall and Hathaway really lend themselves to an excellent romantic comedy, but the producers ruined it by over-indulging in sex. My husband and I would have walked it, but we wanted to see what happened in their relationship.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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