Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
lust in the Bible
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
How can I tell if I’m getting addicted to pornography or sex? Answer
|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), See all »|
|Director||Edward Zwick—“The Last Samurai,” “Blood Diamond,” “Defiance,” “The Siege”|
|Producer||Bedford Falls Productions, Fox 2000 Pictures, New Regency Pictures, Regency, See all »|
|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.