From a jaunty Spin Doctors–scored opening to a teary, Regina Spektor–cued finale, Love & Other Drugs will switch to any style, station, or frequency to keep you entertained. Or at least not bored. (Maybe awake?) The most egregious four-quadrant pander-party of the year, Ed Zwick’s latest middlebrow atrocity has been so carefully market-tested—crudeness counteracts romance, slapstick leavens disease-of-the-week melodrama—that it needn’t even be seen, just administered directly into the bloody mainstream. Cuddly cubby bear Jake Gyllenhaal plays Jamie Randall, an underachieving late-1990s rich kid who learns to channel his sex drive into pimping pharmaceuticals for Pfizer. He hands out Zoloft and Viagra samples between strategic lays before finding his true calling in the company and care of Anne Hathaway’s eagerly proffered breasts. Jamie and prescription-med-junkie Maggie fuck until they make love, then break up/make up over her early-onset Parkinson’s. Watching two ripe and fearless young stars nakedly cavort ought to be titillating, but Gyllenhaal and Hathaway are so overexposed here that you feel embarrassed for them. Meanwhile, Jamie’s incongruous brother, Josh (Josh Gad, a poor man’s Jonah Hill—which is more impoverishment than I thought possible), is crashed on the couch to counteract adulthood with jerk-off jokes. Buried somewhere in Zwick’s film might be a topical modern romance, maybe even a health care satire, but you’d need to dig past layers of creative desperation to find it.
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