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Originally published November 23, 2010 at 1:56 PM | Page modified November 24, 2010 at 9:51 AM

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Movie review

'Love and Other Drugs': Adorable stars deserve better film

In "Love and Other Drugs" director Edward Zwick has combined the adorable, big-eyed duo of Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway and given us a muddle of a movie that can't make up its mind if it's romantic or cynical.

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review 2 stars

'Love and Other Drugs,' with Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Josh Gad, Gabriel Macht, Judy Greer. Directed by Edward Zwick, from a screenplay by Charles Randolph, Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, based on the book "Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman" by Jamie Reidy. 112 minutes. Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, pervasive language and some drug material. Several theaters.

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In a world gasping desperately for good romantic comedies, director Edward Zwick has combined the adorable, big-eyed duo of Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway and given us — well, a deeply cynical, romantic weepy satirical comedy. "Love and Other Drugs" fits no convenient category, which I guess is a plus, but it leaves you not knowing what to think, so muddled is its mood.

Jamie (Gyllenhaal) is a pharmaceutical salesman, a Viagra salesman to be exact, and he's slicker than a spilled bottle of vinaigrette. (You wonder how the pharmaceutical industry will feel about this movie, whose cheerful messages include that doctors can be bought, women become sales reps solely for the purpose of meeting doctors and money trumps any concern over side effects.)

Maggie (Hathaway), so gorgeous she can wear a Boy Scout uniform shirt and not look silly, is a silkily sardonic artist who catches Jamie's eye while he's pretending to be a doctor in a clinic exam room. Sex in a convenient sink, not to mention an alley, follows not much later, as does the news that Maggie's health is fragile.

There's undeniable chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Hathaway, who are at their most appealing when just laughing together — something the movie too rarely lets them do.

As "Love and Other Drugs" marches along to its weirdly Hollywood ending (which it doesn't earn, and which almost seems tacked on from a different movie), it seems to walk away from its audience. We're left to ponder Judy Greer's charmingly sped-up ditziness or Hank Azaria's note-perfect smarminess in small roles — and to wait, for a romantic movie that lives up to its billing.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or

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