As Viagra rep and womanizer Jamie Randall and artist Maggie Murdock, Gyllenhaal and Hathaway spend a good portion of the hour-and-53- minute screen time naked and in bed
or on the floor, in closets, back alleys, wherever) making whoopee. This would be fine if “Love” was simply a fun romantic comedy. But it’s not.
Directed and co-written by Edward Zwick (“Glory,” TV’s “thirtysomething”), “Love” has a disturbing dark side on many levels: The way competing drug reps bribe doctors to take samples, doctors’ discomfort over insurance companies and legal pressure, 26-year-old Maggie’s slowly escalating war with Parkinson’s Disease.
It’s the illness that turns the rollicking sex comedy into a film as sad as 1970’s “Love Story.” And it’s the illness that climbs into the lovers’ bedroom, forcing them to face a life-and-death commitment. Before the reality intrusion, Jamie is the wild sexaholic, screwing everything that moves (in a skirt, that is). And, he has a wacky younger brother Josh (Josh Gad), who fills in the gaps with riotous stream-ofconsciousness quips (watching a home video of his brother in action, he complains,
“It’s not fair that you have a bigger penis than me”).
Maggie is a free spirit, too, except her wings are clipped by fate. With love on the rise, she pushes Jamie away, assuming he will not want to carry the burden when her disability becomes extreme. During Parkinson’s patient meeting, Jamie asks a longsuffering husband caregiver. “My girlfriend’s in the early stages, what should I do?” The husband-caregiver’s answer:
What’s a lovestruck playboy to do?
Go see “Love and Other Drugs” and find out.
You may also find yourself laughing through your tears.