"Love & Other Drugs" Offers Doses of Beauty and Pain (Review)

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It's true -- there ARE studies that imply that romantic comedies can totally do some harm to your real life romance. But if you're looking for a sexy and touching lesson in what it really means to fall -- and be -- in love, then you should see "Love & Other Drugs," in theaters today.

Getting the opportunity to see the film a few weeks ago, I was captivated not only by the on screen presence between Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal (whose radiate a fierce chemistry off of the screen), but also how it spins a story from a fling, into love, into a test of that love all in under two hours, taking you through
a roller coaster of emotions along the way...

Take Gyllenhaal's Jamie Randall, who starts the film as a playboy and guy who can't seem to commit to anyone -- or anything, as evidenced by being fired from his job as an electronic store sales rep in the first few minutes for having too much of a way with the ladies.

You quickly learn that Jamie can't seem to hold much of anything down and seems to have little ties to much more than his family.

With the help of his brother he lands a pharmaceutical sales job and even continues to charm the ladies there. But even his suave approach and killer eyes can't help him for some of the challenges he'll soon face.

For starters, the work isn't as easy as he thought, as he realizes he has a hard time getting the attention of prospective clients and knocking down the competition. But, in the process of really trying to win over a big wig of a client, he accidentally stumbles upon Hathaway's Maggie Murdock, whose breezy, carefree spirit grabs Jamie's attention.

After a little rule-bending, he manages to call her and even after she shows him how hip to his game he is, he pursues her, asking her out on an introduction date that ends up being the floodgate to a sexy, passionate, fun and carefree fling, which seems to work out well for both personalities. Until the love thing gets in the way.

As his relationship with Maggie takes off, so does his career, even becoming really successful thanks to breaking sales records for the revolutionary Viagra drug (the movie is set against the backdrop of the big Viagra discovery, loosely based on the book "Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman").

Truth is, the flick seems seems to go from sexy to romantic and passionate -- until Jamie learns that Maggie's in the early stages of Parkinson's Disease.

What comes next is a true test of love and real for both of them. For Jamie it's about deciding if he really means it when he says he truly loves Maggie, knowing the truth of her illness. Meanwhile, for Maggie, it's about taking a chance on Jamie and letting herself need him in her life.

Sure, the ending, while packaged too nicely (like many romantic movies of this nature), makes it seem like anything
is possible, even if it doesn't always turn out so neat. Now that's unrealistic, we know. But still, the
roller coaster love affair that dominates the film, plus the
performances of two incredibly talented actors really does make the
flick a good one to watch.

The RD Says: If ever a flick offered lessons in love (as "real" as it can be in Hollywood flicks), I'd say watch it. The journey of Jamie and Maggie is a tough one. But, it's filled with so much passion, chemistry and fire that you can't seem to peel your eyes off the screen.

At the same time, the flick raises a couple of really big questions that are worth thinking about: Would you have the strength to truly love someone even after you learn something life-altering about them? And, would you be able to put fear aside to really love them? 

WHAT: Love & Other Drugs, directed by Ed Zwick, hits theaters nationwide today (look up local directories to find out where it's showing in your area). And, for more information on the film, check out the film's website or its Facebook page

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