Movies: Love and Other Drugs **
(15A, general release)
Edward Zwick's Love and Other Drugs is a strange, confusing film, a drama with pretensions towards smart comedy that collapses into melodrama midway through and never quite recovers.
Based on a bestselling memoir, the film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Jamie Randall, the underachieving son of a Chicago doctor who joins the sales staff of drugs giant Pfizer in 1996 after finding himself at a loose end.
Dispatched to the midwest to peddle anti-depressants, he charms his way into the affections of a local doctor who helps him advance his career.
But everything changes for Jamie after he meets Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway). Jamie, a ladies' man, has never known rejection, but when Maggie uses him for sex and then tries to dispense with him, he's fascinated. But Maggie's emotional distance has a cause -- she's in early stage Parkinson's, and is convinced she'll have to cope with it alone. Once it hits its stride, Love and Other Drugs mixes low comedy, illness and tedious sex scenes with little skill.
There are interesting moments, but overall this is glib and flippant stuff. Disease is the traditional route to Oscars, and Ms Hathaway has been mentioned in dispatches, but if I were her I wouldn't hold my breath.