Nov 20, 2010


"Loosely adapted from Jamie Reidy’s bestselling memoir about the Viagra gold rush in the late nineties, Love and Other Drugs stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a womanizing pharmaceutical rep who falls in lust, and then in love, with a beautiful young woman with stage-one Parkinson’s played by Anne Hathaway. And if that suggests a plunge deep into disease-of-the-week territory, then you are reckoning without the four-star raunch with which the whole tale comes salted — sex scenes, sex tapes, onscreen nudity, an orgy and which may leave some in the audience wondering whether they are watching a film about Viagra, or on Viagra. The film marks a change of direction for the director, who is best known for films such as Glory, The Last Samurai, Legends of the Fall, and Blood Diamond —handsomely-mounted epics which make big claims on both the moral high ground and the audience’s emotions, and which tend to attract the words “solid”, “stirring” and “old fashioned” from critics. If Love and Other Drugs has any precedent in Zwick’s work, it is the hit with which he kick-started his career, About Last Night, the 1986 romantic comedy starring Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, plus an assortment of sweaters to give even the most doctrinaire eighties revivalist pause. He has had his misfires, most notablyLegends of the Fall, a woozy piece of calendar-art classicism in which Brad Pitt attempted to outdo the Montana plains for mythological resonance; and while none of his movies have lost money, his last, Defiance, about Jewish resistance fighters in the Belorussian forest, struggled to cross the finishing line. The kind of epics Zwick used to specialise in are an endangered species in today’s recession-strapped Hollywood. “As in real life, the middle class is being squeezed,” he says. “If I madeGlory today, I would have to do with a platoon not a regiment.” — from my interview with director Ed Zwick for The New York Times


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