LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS:

While channel surfing a few years ago, I came across Anna Nicole Smith’s reality television show. After about two minutes, I changed the channel since I didn’t want to spend any more time watching some of the most unlikeable people on the planet. I had a similar feeling viewing this ironically limp movie about a pharmaceutical salesman (Jake Gyllenhaal) who rethinks his bed hopping lifestyle when he hooks up with an attractive, troubled young woman (Anne Hathaway). In a good romantic comedy, I like to see a couple wind up with each other because they deserve to be happy. Not so here since Gyllenhaal’s (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN) character is an ethical and moral snake willing to pose as a doctor or to destroy other people’s medication to advance himself. Meanwhile, Hathaway (RACHEL GETTING MARRIED) is supposed to be a sympathetic figure with a TV movie-of-the-week case of Parkinson’s disease who nonetheless comes off as a bipolar female of the canine species in need of Gyllenhaal’s ample supply of Zoloft. I had the feeling at times that the screenplay was trying to make a satirical jab with the way physicians choose which drugs to prescribe with its “advent of Viagra” storyline (See Critic’s “Drive-By” Commentary.). But this narrative “peters out” rather quickly leaving the viewer with the impression that most doctors everywhere else are just as indifferent toward their patients as the ones in the Valley are. Even though the lead actors spend a significant amount of time without their clothes on, this is one of the most sexless and non-erotic movies I’ve seen in recent memory. It was far from the easiest thing I’ve ever had to sit through but it’s a dirty job and somebody had to do it. CRITIC’S GRADE: D

CRITIC’S “DRIVE-BY” COMMENTARY: Unlike some of my more conservative acquaintances and friends, I’m not bothered by any television commercial for a product treating erectile dysfunction. But I’ve yet to figure out why those advertisements for Cialis always conclude with the couple sitting outside somewhere in separate bathtubs. I mean if the Cialis was working shouldn’t the guy be in the bathtub with the woman “getting busy”? Just a thought.