As real as her body is, her performance isnt up to snuff.
Ed Zwicks film is half a good movie; see it for the and Other Drugs part that kicks it off. Thats the portion infused with effervescence, pulling back the curtain on the cutthroat world of pharmaceutical reps that Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal) jumps into after hes booted from his electronics sales job for banging his managers girlfriend on the clock.
Bubbling with charm (which he uses more or less to separate women from their panties), Jamie is assigned to pitch Zoloft to a Prozac-favoring physician populace. He does all right, but his career really rises when the penile-dysfunction pill known as Viagra is introduced to the market.
Thats interesting stuff (taken from Jamie Reidys Hard Sell memoir, the discs special features reveal), but not the friends-with-benefits relationship he carries on with Maggie (Hathaway), an artist with stage 1 Parkinsons he meets during one of his doctors office visits. Being a womanizer, Jamie isnt into commitment; being sick, Maggie isnt, either. You know how thats going to end. (Spoiler alert: Consider the first word of the title.)
What you dont expect is that at the midpoint, Zwick puts the brakes on the corporate comedy and makes a hard right toward melodrama, not only to explore the storys disease-of-the-week trappings, but to give Hathaway a chance to bait award votes. She tries too hard; her work is exaggerated and showy, whereas Gyllenhaals runs smooth and natural. He exudes the confidence of an Tom Cruise; she overacts, at one point even eliciting a burst of out-loud laughter from this reviewer, during her obligatory meltdown scene.
Just as the pills Jamie pushes dont mix with alcohol, the goofy comedy doesnt jive with Zwicks attempts at seriousness. While Blu-ray viewers may experience an initial high, side effects may include nausea and drowsiness as that euphoria wears off. Rod Lott