Review: Love and Other Drugs DVD

Love and Other Drugs DVD boxSTUDIO: 20th Century Fox | DIRECTOR: Edward Zwick | CAST: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Oliver Platt
RELEASE DATE: 3/1/2011 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $39.99
BONUSES: deleted scenes, featurettes
SPECS: R | 112 min. | romantic comedy/drama | 1.85:1 aspect ratio | Dolby 5.1 audio | English, French and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Love and Other Drugs isn’t your usual romantic comedy. It has plenty of romance, and lots of comedy, but it doesn’t fit in the cutesy brand of Life As We Know It. Instead, it’s a hybrid of romantic comedy and drama, and there’s plenty of that.

Love and Other Drugs movie sceneJake Gyllenhaal (Prince of Persia, the Sands of Time) is a playboy prescription drugs salesman who stays clear of responsibility as much as he can. When he meets Anne Hathaway (Alice in Wonderland), who has the early onset of Parkinson’s disease, he has to make a choice between staying the same and growing up.

This illness element takes the story to a more dramatic level, and it’s a pleasure to watch Gyllenhaal and Hathaway play their parts. But there’s always something a little uncomfortable about the film. Perhaps it’s that the two stars are naked for a good portion of the movie. Nothing against nudity, but it’s not really a sex movie and sexy is better when there’s more left to the imagination. Or perhaps it’s the odd path the movie tries to tread between romance and message film about the cost and messed up priorities of the corporate healthcare system in America.

The special features on the DVD, which are the same as the Blu-ray, don’t add much to the movie’s entertainment. The best extras are the handful of deleted and extended scenes, which are all good. In one, Hathaway and Gyllenhaal discuss why she previously had relationship with a married drug salesman; in another, Gyllenhaal gets a reality check when his boss has a heart attack and he has to interrupt a drug sales women’s flirty talk with a doctor to get some help; and Hathaway and Gyllenhaal get in a fight in the third.

The rest of the special features package is made up of four featurettes, and three of them are the usual “aren’t they all geniuses” pieces that get boring quickly. “Love & Other Drugs: An Actor’s Discussion,” “Beautifully Complex: Anne Hathaway is Maggie” and “Reformed Womanizer: Jake Gyllenhaal is Jamie” feature the actors discussing their roles and what they liked about them. Hathaway and Gyllenhaal are fine actors, but what they say, we’ve all heard before.

The last featurette, “Selling Love & Other Drugs,” is the most interesting, but too brief. It talks about the movie’s inspiration, the book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman by Jamie Reidy. An out-of-focus Reidy is featured in the piece giving tips on how to make it as a prescription drug salesmen, such as the “lean in,” having good energy and always following through on your word.

 

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About Sam

Disc Dish founder and editor Samantha Clark is the former managing editor/online editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.