Sunday, June 12, 2011

Paragraph Movie Reviews: Love and Other Drugs

If you don't have plans to see this movie, you can check the spoilers here and then come back.

This movie has a lot of charm, but it also feels like three or four writers took turns on the script without really consulting one another. For the most part it's fun and it never becomes unwatchable, but the emotional transitions are so abrupt and ill-paced that it's hard to get a grip on what you're watching. For most of the first hour, it seems to want to be a comedy centered around a burgeoning relationship, and that works, because the funny parts are the standout and because the stars craft a love story you care about. However, somewhere in the second half, the plot gets dropped off a cliff into melodrama with bad romantic comedy cliches, the characters skew way off their established behaviors and the whole enterprise has difficulty recovering. Jake Gyllenhaal has the strongest performance as he turns up the charisma and makes you believe him capable of being the smooth-talking ladies man who is just now discovering emotion; when he has to dig a little deeper during the third act, he falters. Anne Hathaway vacillates between being incredibly winning and trying way too hard; she's too smooth and callous at times, and the uneven writing of her character in particular does her no favors. Josh Gad is the standout of the supporting cast as the consistent comic relief while Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria and Judy Greer deliver when they're onscreen, but aren't there long enough to make any real impact. If this movie had figured out where it was going early on, it could have been a keeper, but it ends up instead as just two hours of ok diversionary entertainment.