Love & Other Drugs

Last updated
Love & Other Drugs
Love & Other Drugs Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Edward Zwick
Produced by
Written by
  • Charles Randolph
  • Edward Zwick
  • Marshall Herskovitz
Based onHard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman
by Jamie Reidy
Starring
Music by James Newton Howard
CinematographySteven Fierberg
Edited by Steven Rosenblum
Production
companies
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • November 4, 2010 (2010-11-04)(AFI Fest)
  • November 26, 2010 (2010-11-26)(United States)
Running time
112 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$30 million [1]
Box office$103 million [2]

Love & Other Drugs is a 2010 American romantic comedy-drama film [3] directed, produced and co-written by Edward Zwick, based on the non-fiction book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman by Jamie Reidy. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, who previously starred together in the 2005 drama Brokeback Mountain ; Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Josh Gad and Gabriel Macht also star. The film was released in the United States on November 26, 2010, received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $103 million.

Contents

Plot

In 1996, Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhal) is fired from a Pittsburgh electronics store for having sex with his manager's girlfriend. Now jobless, his wealthy brother, Josh, announces during a family dinner at their parents' house that he will refer Jamie to a friend for a job as a pharmaceutical sales representative. After attending a six-months Pfizer training program where he has sex with the instructor, Jamie goes to work for the company and tries to get doctors to prescribe Zoloft and Zithromax. He is rebuffed, much to the dismay of his regional manager, Bruce, who sees Jamie as his ticket to the "big leagues" of Chicago. Bruce suggests to Jamie that if he can get Dr. Stan Knight to prescribe Zoloft instead of Prozac, other doctors will follow his lead. Following Bruce's suggestion, Jamie tries to get access to Knight by flirting with his female employees while secretly throwing the Prozac samples. After some time, Knight permits him to come with him to examine one of his patients, Maggie Murdock, who suffers from early onset Parkinson's disease. During this meeting, Jamie has set his eyes on Maggie and persuades one of the Dr. Knight's female assistants to give him Maggie's number.

Having successfully landed a date, Jamie and Maggie reach a mutual conclusion that they don't need to beat around the bush to have sex. Knowing this, they started to have a sex friend relationship because both of them don't want to commit to a relationship. Jamie is later beaten up by top-selling Prozac rep Trey Hannigan who discovers that he has been throwing his samples, and warns Jamie not to mess with him. Having a bad day, Jamie goes to Maggies’ apartment as usual but as they start to have sex he can't get an erection. She then teases Jamie and comforts him by asking what happened. During the conversation, Maggie reveals that Trey is an ex-boyfriend. To cheer him up she tells him rumors about his company developing a new drug that will cure erectile dysfunction. After hearing that, he asks Bruce about it and confirms that there is such a drug, which is to be called Viagra and is about to be marketed. Jamie soon starts selling Viagra, an instant success. Jamie wants a committed relationship, but Maggie refuses. Jamie confronts her while she helps senior citizens onto a bus bound for Canada to get cheap prescription drugs, and they get into an argument.

Two days later, after waiting all night for her at the bus stop in his car, he greets her back. Maggie is touched that he waited, and they resume their relationship. Jamie spends nights at Maggie's apartment. One night, he tells Maggie that he loves her—the first time he has ever said that to anyone—and has a panic attack. Maggie calms him by saying she "said 'I love you' to a cat once." Jamie catches his brother masturbating to a sex tape that he and Maggie had recorded. Jamie asks her to go to a Chicago medical conference with him. She ends up at a Parkinson's discussion group across the street, and is moved by the people and their stories. Jamie meets a man whose wife is in the final stages of the disease, and asks for advice about Maggie. The man tells him to run.

After the convention, Maggie tells him how much she loves him. Jamie starts researching Parkinson's, and takes Maggie to different specialists around the country to have tests done. Jamie becomes angry when he arrives at an appointment only to find out it has been rescheduled, after they had flown in specifically to see the doctor. Maggie sees that Jamie can only love her if there is a hope that one day there will be a cure, and decides to break up with him.

Jamie and his brother are invited to a pajama party by Knight, and ends up having a threesome with two girls. Jamie wakes up with a rare reaction from taking Viagra and he goes to the hospital. Some time later, Jamie goes to a restaurant and runs into Maggie, who is on a date. Bruce shows up and reveals Jamie has been promoted to the Chicago office. While packing to move to Chicago, Jamie finds the videotape recorder where he taped himself and Maggie talking about life. Jamie realizes he wants to be with Maggie, but her boss tells him she has left for Canada to obtain drugs. Jamie flags down her bus and tells her that she makes him a better person, and that he loves and needs her. She starts to cry and says she will need him more. Jamie decides not to take the job in Chicago, but instead he attends medical school at the University of Pittsburgh and stays with Maggie.

Cast

Production

Filming

Principal photography began in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania region on September 21, 2009. [4] The city was chosen for its atmosphere, rich medical history, the state's tax incentive program for film productions, and the area's experienced crews. [5] Pittsburgh suburbs such as McCandless, Squirrel Hill, Fox Chapel, Sewickley, Aliquippa, and Brownsville have been used as locations for the film, as well as Mellon Arena, Jane Street in the South Side between 17th and 18th streets, the Omni William Penn Hotel, The Capital Grille, and Station Square. Pittsburgh doubled as Chicago for some scenes. [5] The studio was in a building that had been a limousine car park. [6]

The scene in the beginning of the film where Gyllenhaal's character works in the audio/video store was shot at the former Don Allen Car Dealership located on Baum Blvd and S. Atlantic Avenue where the East End neighborhoods of Shadyside, Friendship and Bloomfield intersect. The building has since been demolished as of 2014.

A section of the Mon-Fayette Expressway (Pennsylvania Route 43) in suburban Washington County was used for scenes on November 15–16, delaying traffic. A helicopter was used for filming and 40 to 50 vehicles were brought in for the shoot. [7] Trailers and tents were set up on the campus of Ringgold High School while filming took place on the Expressway. An area was set aside for actors waiting to film their scenes. [4]

In preparing for the film, Hathaway credits the work of Kate Winslet and Penélope Cruz, two actresses "whose work [she] returned to a lot in preparation" for Love and Other Drugs; she believes both have "done nudity with a tremendous amount of sensitivity and dignity". [6] She identified one of her favorite Cruz films, Abre Los Ojos , as work that helped her greatly for her role. [8] Like Gyllenhaal, Hathaway had final cut over those scenes, using it to cut five seconds where she thought "the camera lingered a little bit". [6] Hathaway said that she did not believe her nudity in the film would put off socially conservative people who would otherwise see the film, saying "just because nudity is such a contentious issue in America people believe that they automatically alienate the conservative parts of America by having nudity. But I give the American public more credit than that. I think that people are curious and people do love love stories. I think people might find it and like it, even though it is a little bit risky." [9]

Release

Critical response

Love and Other Drugs received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 48% based on 165 reviews, with an average rating of 5.78/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "It's a pleasure to see Hollywood produce a romance this refreshingly adult, but Love and Other Drugs struggles to find a balance between its disparate plot elements." [10] Metacritic gave the film a score of 55 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". [11]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it two and a half stars out of four, commenting that it "obtains a warm, lovable performance from Anne Hathaway and dimensions from Jake Gyllenhaal that grow from comedy to the serious". [12] Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a mixed review, writing: "The energy is far too great—manic even—at the beginning but calms down for a while to focus on the highly competitive but not always ethical arena of drug sales, then gets distracted by unusually bold sex scenes for a studio picture only to wander off into the cultural phenomenon of Viagra before the movie decides it's a romance after all and so concludes in a highly conventional final embrace." [13] A negative review from the East Bay Express described it as "a spectacularly maudlin and repellent piece of work" where the two protagonists "try to outdo each other in the 'who cares' department with their alarmingly off-putting interpersonal communication", leading to "callous salesman jokes, callous sex jokes, even callous jokes about the homeless man who rescues drug samples from the Dumpster." [14] An Associated Press reviewer found the film to be a "run-of-the-mill Hollywood love story". [15]

Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a positive review, stating "Zwick is thankfully much more of a grown-up now in dealing with relationship entanglements. Somehow, between the epic and the intimate, between Hathaway and Gyllenhaal, love doesn't come easy, but with Love & Other Drugs, at least you don't have to wait." [16] Mary Pols of Time stated, "Since American movies tend to be prudish about sex, especially having bona fide stars appear to do it onscreen, Love & Other Drugs' desire to thoroughly acquaint us with a topless Anne Hathaway and a bottomless Jake Gyllenhaal is a welcome change." [17] James Berardinelli, film critic for ReelViews, praised the film and its story, giving it three and a half stars out of four. He wrote, "The first thing one notices about Love and Other Drugs is that it's an adult romance. So many current love stories are targeted at teenagers that it's rare to find one that sidesteps the numerous contrivances that permeate the genre." [18]

Box office

Love and Other Drugs was released on November 24, 2010, and opened in 2,455 theaters in the United States, grossing $2,239,489 on its opening day and $9,739,161 in its opening weekend, ranking No. 6 with a per theater average of $3,967. [19] [20] On its second weekend, it remained No. 6 and grossed $5,652,810, averaging $2,300 per theater. [21] By its third weekend it dropped down to No. 8 and made $2,981,509, averaging $1,331 per theater. [22]

The film barely broke even at home with a domestic total gross of $32,367,005 as opposed to a production budget of $30 million. It fared much better overseas, where it grossed $70,453,003. [2]

Accolades

AwardCategoryRecipient(s)Result
68th Golden Globe Awards [23] Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Jake Gyllenhaal Nominated
Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Anne Hathaway Nominated
Satellite Awards 2010 [24] Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Jake GyllenhaalNominated
Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Anne HathawayWon
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association [25] Best Actress Nominated

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