Having been a pharmaceutical rep for four years, I was very curious to see this romantic comedy about a clueless womanizer who lucks his way into a job with Pfizer, and falls for a patient with Parkinson’s, who he meets while on the job.
Based on Jamie Reidy’s non-fiction book, “Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman” this movie depicts the pharmaceutical industry PERFECTLY!! Everything from the over-the-top training programs and the money big companies spend, to the persistence needed by the reps to woo doctors into prescribing their drugs in order to make quotas, the writers really got it right, which makes sense, since Reidy was one of them.
Here’s the thing. Producers decided to add this whole other plot to the movie that wasn’t in the book: the relationship between the main character, pharmaceutical rep Jamie Randall, (played by the adorable Jake Gyllenhall) and the woman he falls madly in love with, Maggie Murdock (played by Anne Hathaway with her beautiful lips and sexy voice). Although loveable from the beginning, the power of love changes Jamie from a heartbreaking womanizer to a giving, selfless person who has finally realized how fulfilling true love can be.
It came as no surprise to learn that Edward Zwick directed Love And Other Drugs. After all, two of my absolute favorite films are Legends Of The Fall and About Last Night, both directed by Zwick. And the casting could not have been better. Gyllenhall and Hathaway have a very believable chemistry that had me rooting for them the entire time. Then there’s Jamie’s hilarious newly independently wealthy younger brother, Josh(played by Josh Gad), who moves in with him after his wife dumps him. Gad had me laughing out loud at times. Other really great characters were old timer, burned out pharma rep, Bruce Winston (played by Oliver Platt) who’s hired to train Jamie in the field, and Dr. Stan Knight (played by Hank Azaria) a key influential physician who Jamie’s determined to win over in order to impact his sales.
My very favorite part of Love and Other Drugs is when Jamie starts selling Viagra. A huge fan of historical fiction, I remember when Viagra came out, and all the hype associated with it, and to see it on film was so energizing and funny. Everyone in the film refers to Viagra as the *uck drug, which I found hilarious.
Love and Other Drugs was a super cute romantic comedy and, although I thought there was a little too much nakedness and sex (could have been just as good with less of that), I was inspired by watching Jamie’s journey and seeing him grow and mature into the wonderful person I knew he innately was. There was also the element of Parkinson’s . Getting a glimpse of the disease was interesting and gave me a newfound understanding and appreciation for people who suffer from it.
Love and Other Drugs is a great rental that had me laughing and tearing up throughout. And, I absolutely cannot wait to read Reidy’s book!