Most people can spot movies that they’re not going to like. If you don’t like action movies you steer clear of explosions, car chases, and Jason Statham. If you don’t like foreign films you avoid subtitles. It seems simple to not watch what you would consider to be a bad movie. And yet, Hollywood is smart. They will trick you. They will advertise cleverly, cast daringly, and deny, deny, deny that their movie is what you do not want it to be. And this is how I watched Love and Other Drugs, a rom-com bomb that I should have seen coming.
In this slightly edgy romantic comedy, love grows is unexpected places and against all odds. Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain, Jarhead) is a young pharmaceutical sales rep who is just entering the game. Desired by women and gifted with charm, nothing can stand in his way. That is, however, until he meets a young woman, Anne Hathaway (Brokeback Mountain, Ella Enchanted), who is not so easily convinced. While they both have inner demons that they must battle, love begins to grow and barriers start to crumble as love attempts to conquer all.
Rom-coms are all the same; I’m not sure why I ever tried to tell myself otherwise. I was tricked by the beautiful people and the promise of something different; an edge that would take this film beyond the normal sappy drivel. But it was a lie. The plot seems developed from a formula that may have worked a thousand times but that has never created a film worth watching. And the advertised “edge” was darkly interesting, but it was just a diversion from the crappy lines, the emotional emptiness, and Hathaway’s knack for making every scene feel like high school drama class.
While it wasn’t all bad, it wasn’t good enough. There were a few funny moments and I enjoyed the first half hour. But at some point I realized that the film was getting progressively worse. Attempts to raise it above the normal banality were almost sad. I wanted to give them some credit for trying, but then I remembered how I had been tricked into watching crap, and I didn’t feel as forgiving. Don’t be fooled; Love and Other Drugs is just a romantic comedy. It’s nothing better or worse, but it’s also nothing you should watch.
My rating: ✰ ✰