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Movie Review

Love and Other Drugs

MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, and some drug material.

Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Romance Comedy Drama
Length:
1 hr. 53 min.
Year of Release:
2010
USA Release:
November 24, 2010 (wide—2,300+ theaters)
DVD: March 1, 2011
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

lust in the Bible

lascivious

fornication

Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

My boyfriend wants to have sex. I don’t want to lose him. What should I do? Answer

How far is too far? What are the guidelines for dating relationships? Answer

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

How can I deal with temptations? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

Pornography addiction

How can I tell if I’m getting addicted to pornography or sex? Answer


Sex, Love & Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Christian answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more. Valuable resources for Christian couples, singles and pastors.
Featuring: Jake Gyllenhaal (Jamie Randall), Anne Hathaway (Maggie Murdock), Oliver Platt (Bruce Winston), Hank Azaria (Dr. Stan Knight), Josh Gad (Josh Randall), Gabriel Macht (Trey Hannigan), Judy Greer (Cindy), George Segal (Dr. James Randall), Jill Clayburgh (Nancy Randall), Kate Jennings Grant (Gina), more »
Director: Edward Zwick—“The Last Samurai,” “Blood Diamond,” “Defiance,” “The Siege”
Producer: Bedford Falls Productions, Fox 2000 Pictures, New Regency Pictures, Regency, more »
Distributor: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

based on Jamie Reidy’s memoir Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman

“Love and other Drugs” is a depraved, conflicted film package. While extreme in sexual content and deeply vulgar in debauched dialogue, the film then offers a sincerely candid look at the challenges of falling in love with someone who has an incurable, degenerative disease.

“Love and Other Drugs” marks the second collaboration for Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal; their first being 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain”. Though the script is thematically incoherent (more on that later), both actors deliver apt performances which provides the film with its only consistent quality.

Gyllenhaal plays an immature womanizer, Jamie Randall. After getting fired for having sex on the job, Jamie launches a new career as a pharmaceutical sales rep for Pfizer. His drug to pitch is Zoloft, and trying to get his first sale proves to be tricky. Hounding doctors and charming the receptionists prove to have little effect. After much attempt, Jamie finally manages to bribe Dr. Stan Knight (Hank Azaria) in allowing the young salesman to shadow him. Under the ruse of a medical intern, Jamie views Maggie Murdock’s (Anne Hathaway) examination and seems pleased when he manages to see her breast during the consultation.

Quick to key in on the deception, Maggie ruthlessly attacks Jamie in the parking lot. Though Maggie does get in a few good swings, Jamie is even more entranced by the headstrong female. After some persuasion, Maggie agrees to have coffee with Jamie. While at the coffee date, she further impresses him by reading into his usual game plan and suggests that they skip right to having sex. The two young adults then proceed to have a casual sexual fling, which works for awhile. Of course, feelings slowly begin to emerge, with Maggie being the more reluctant one, since her diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease has made her weary of long-term commitments.

Of all the movies I’ve reviewed for Christian Spotlight, I have never have seen such explicit sexual content in a film. The two actors spend a great deal of time completely naked. There are several graphic sex scenes, and perhaps the only way the filmmakers avoided the much dreaded NC-17 was by not showing complete frontal nudity. This was done by the actors blocking their crotch areas with their legs or by holding something meager in front of it, such as a video camera.

Amongst these very brazen sex scenes and abundant nudity, the dialogue is, also, filled with obscene references. Jamie’s brother, Josh, delivers the bulk of the film’s gratuitous sexual humor. Most of these jokes aren’t funny, and the theatre audience remained either mostly silent or awkwardly chuckled. In the most disturbing scene, Josh is caught masturbating to Jamie and Maggie’s sex tape. Through his nervousness, he stammers of how he’s envious that Jamie’s penis is bigger than his and comments on how Maggie’s breasts look bigger on film than in person.

Despite the film’s jocular presentation of sexual immorality, the film treats Parkinson’s disease seriously and utilizes Maggie’s diagnosis as a realistic conflict between her and Jamie. During a Parkinson’s disease convention, Jamie asks the spouse of an advanced PD sufferer for any advice. The man’s candid response rouses Jamie’s fear of any future with Maggie, since the disease will slowly deteriorate her motor skills. Not wanting to give up, Jamie then becomes obsessed with trying to find a cure for Maggie, as her resentment builds from becoming Jamie’s project.

The accumulation of these scenes, together with the movie’s ending, provide “Love and Other Drugs” with the some heart. However, these heartfelt moments feel minimal when compared to the amounts of sexual content and profanity, which nears the 100 mark. Further damaging the film’s potential is Jamie’s less than admirable qualities. He’s shown spending enormous time pushing his sales tactics to new unethical limits; in several scenes, he is shown stealing and throwing away his competitor’s drug and even having a threesome with two bisexual women, soon after he and Maggie break up.

Though the film likely aims at being an adult romance drama/comedy, it also serves as a commentary of just how greedy pharmaceutical companies are in making their billions. It also illustrates that a couple’s love must be extra strong in order to overcome an incurable diagnosis. The film has its noteworthy merit for displaying the aforementioned. However, they are drowned in the massive sea of graphic nudity and vulgar dialogue, leaving viewers with a sour aftertaste. Even as Gyllenhaal and Hathaway made the film’s interview rounds, the majority of questions were directed towards the amount of nudity. The immoral overexposure results in the film’s loss of delivering what could have been a powerful message of “love conquers all”.

Christians should avoid “Love and Other Drugs”. We are commanded to think of things which are holy and noble (Phil 4:8). In Ephesians 5:3, Paul wrote that there shouldn’t be even a hint of sexual immorality among God’s people. We should completely avoid things that might cause us to stumble during our walk with Christ—and focus on what’s holy. A good verse to end with is Hebrews 12:1-2:

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive

none

Negative
Negative—There were some redeeming qualities about this “love story,” but the amount of sexual activity shown, with nothing left to the imagination, was so overwhelming that I am not sure that the redeeming qualities would be “caught” by the general population. In the beginning the sexual content is so heavy that you feel you are watching an X rated movie not R.

The end was sweet! The message of empty sex was a little late, but at least it was mentioned in one sentence. Overall, the new R rating is actually X rated. Too bad, the movie could have left out all of the explicit sexual scenes and been a decent movie to enjoy. No children please.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jeanne, age 50 (USA)
Negative—There are two redeeming qualities about this movie. One is a scene where a man who is addicted to pornography (and we watch him masturbate in the movie) acknowledges and turns from what he calls “empty sexual encounters.” The other is the last 3 minutes of the movie where Jake Gyllenhaal has a touching dialogue about servant love.

The rest of the movie is almost entirely pornographic. If it is not a scene of entire nudity, then it is a scene with extreme sexual reference leading up to a sexual encounter with almost entire nudity. It is really beyond me how this movie has an “R” rating, because the only thing it is missing is a closeup of penetration. It is a real shame, too. I love both the main characters and have seen ALMOST everything the two have done. There were so many missed opportunities. The graphic nature did not add to the story, but really detracted from involvement in the movie. You could sense from everyone in the theater their comfort level. I’ve never seen so many bathroom breaks and people walk out of a movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Stephanie, age 28 (USA)
Negative—My husband and I left the movie about ¾ of the way in… should have left earlier. Just offensive in every way. We were saddened to think that kids would attend this movie. We don’t usually watch “R” rated movies anyway, but didn’t really check this movie out, as Anne Hathaway is in it, which mistakenly lead me to believe that it would be somewhat modest. I won’t make that mistake again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: none
—Beth, age 46 (USA)
Negative—This is a truly revolting film. Anne Hathaway should be ashamed of herself for accepting this role. It is some sort of socialist diatribe against the drug companies mixed in with a dollop of anti-Americanism which is implied because of the “terrible things” going on in American health care. It is filled with gratuitous sex to the point that I wondered whether Anne Hathaway was going to cross-over and start doing actual X rated pornography. It is a wonder that we did not see ejaculation and a primer on anal sex. It is absolutely appalling. It has no redeeming features whatsoever.

It is as if “Lorenzo’s Oil” was remade by Michael Moore and Hugh Hefner was the script consultant. It is also technically deficient in terms of sets and cinematography. It looks like a Canadian low budget television program. This film is pornography and socialism masquerading as entertainment. It is disgusting, and it is unfunny, and it is predictable and is in no sense moving. I frankly think that watching pornography is a better employment of one’s time than watching this film. At least there is no deception and socialism about it. This is a repulsive, offensive, disgusting excuse for a movie made by people who ought to have known better.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1½
—Blue, age 52 (Australia)
Negative—I saw this film last night. Like others, I had the (mistaken) impression it would be an easy-going, relaxing rom-com. I left feeling disturbed by the amount of unnecessary sex scenes on display. Sex can be clearly referred to without being endlessly shown. The ending of the film changes its overall theme and message slightly, but it’s too little, too late.

I saw things I didn’t want to see and felt extremely uncomfortable watching some parts of this film surrounded by young teenagers, several of whom had quite clearly gone to see it knowing about, and looking forward to, the sex scenes on offer.

I would just like to emphasis the views of other writers that this is NOT suitable for families to see, or for anyone too young to be able to avoid being influenced by it. I left the cinema feeling depressed and conned, having expected a more intelligently produced film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Katie, age 40 (United Kingdom)
Comments from non-viewers
Just wanted to say thanks… From the commercial, I was planning on going to the theater this weekend to watch what I thought was a cute romantic comedy. I have no interest in what will actually be shown. Thanks for sharing the truth!
—D., age 40 (USA)
It is too bad that Anne Hathaway feels like she has to go beyond family films. I am sure it will help her worldly career and help her get awards for later films. I don’t like when actors who are in family films also make “other” films, it can lead people and children to think the movie is ok because they saw the actor in a different family appropriate film. Please don’t fall into this trap with this movie. I will not see this film.
—Adam, age 39 (USA)
Thank you for your good review. I was already not interested in the movie because of the trailers, but now I know it is certainly not worth the time or money.
Halyna Barannik, age 64 (USA)
Negative—Thank you so much for a great review. I believe God made the world, and He knows how best we are to live in this world, including in our relationships. Your review highlights those things in the movie which would be against God’s good ideas for sex and relationships. Thanks. I won’t waste my time or money seeing it thinking I was going to see a light romantic comedy.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: none
—Diana, age 48 (Australia)
Negative—I went to see this thinking it would be a sweet, maybe mildly worldly, romantic comedy. The two men I was with were ready to leave before I was, I was convinced they wouldn’t show anymore sex or nudity scenes (there had been enough!). When they showed another one, after Jake Gyllenhal’s character brings her take-out, we all three got up and left. It was too much. I should have researched it more before I went. I hadn’t heard much about it, nor the fact that there was so much nudity in it. I will not be that naive again. I couldn’t believe it was rated “R.”

A grandmother, mother, and high-school daughter were sitting in front of us. It’s sad to think of young teenagers looking to this movie and getting any ideas or preconceived notions about love in relation to sex.

I do not recommend watching this movie, unless you have Clearplay. Hollywood really could have left out the sex scenes and crude humor, and just given us a sweet story about a girl with a disease and someone who is willing to love her.
—Tef Am., age 28 (USA)
Negative—I have not seen this movie, but the preview, itself, should be rated PG-13. I will never be seeing this movie. It is saying that sex out of marriage is fine, that you should go ahead and do it, and, as a Christian. that is awful. If you see this preview coming, cover your kids’ eyes and your own.
—Brianna, age 14 (USA)