The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 112 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Gabriel Macht, Josh Gad, Judy Greer
Directed by: Edward Zwick
Music by: James Newton Howard
Written by: Edward Zwick, Charles Randolph, Marshall Herskovitz
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 1, 2011
"Love is just what the doctor ordered"
Smooth-talking playboy Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain) is on a fast track to the top of the pharmaceutical sales industry - promoting the miracle drug Viagra by day and charming the ladies by night. However, Jamie is taken aback when he meets Maggie Murdock (Academy Award-nominee Anne Hathaway, The Devil Wears Prada), a radiantly sexy free spirit who doesn't allow her treatment for Parkinson's get in the way of living her life. As Jamie and Maggie juggle their respective medications, they are forced to reassess their budding romance when they realize that love is the ultimate high.
Love and other drugs is loosely based on the book Hard sell: The evolution of a Viagra salesman by Jamie Reidy. The story centers around Jamie and Maggie, two people with similar views on love/relationships, who arrived at them for entirely different reasons. Jamie (Gyllenhaal) is a smooth talking pretty boy who has never taken anything in life, including his numerous female conquests, seriously. Maggie is smart, attractive and emotionally closed off. She suffers from Parkinson's disease (stage one) and prefers to avoid meaningful romance. After a nomadic work existence Jamie finally settles into an occupation that suits his talents, pharmaceutical sales. While honing his skills Jamie inadvertently becomes acquainted with Maggie during a visit to her doctor's office. After an inauspicious beginning they connect, with their casual perspectives on relationships seeming like a perfect match. Unfortunately (or fortunately) love doesn't idly stand by when two people ignite its flame and desirous or not Jamie and Maggie fall for one another. When Jamie's company introduces Viagra his career takes off. For the first time in his life Jaime has found something to care about in his relationship with Maggie and success at work. However issues arise over Maggie's illness as she struggles with the insecurities of a degenerative disorder that offers little hope of a normal life or equal partnership. The effects threaten to dissolve something special that neither Maggie nor Jamie ever thought was possible.
Love and other drugs is most assuredly an adult romance. Its narrative is a jumble that teeters back and forth between thematic tones that are comedic, dramatic, coming of age and humanely stirring. For me it began as most romantic comedies typically do but evolved into more than just a formulaic throw away. The plot contains elements of glib humor, some funny, some conventional, punctuated drama, some moving, some maudlin, and affecting Parkinson's disease references (loved the un-convention sequence). Thematically speaking this film is sort of all over the place. I didn't have a problem with that per se but it dilutes its comedic and dramatic impact. As a romance/love story it excels which is owed greatly to the superb chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Hathaway. Sexuality plays an integral role in the context but it never struck me as being on display strictly for gratuitous reasons (although fans of both Gyllenhaal and Hathaway are sure to appreciate it). There are a multitude of characters introduced however only a few are integral. Seeing the likes of George Segal, the late but great Jill Clayburgh and to a lesser extent Judy Greer in bit parts seemed like a huge waste of talent. Despite the disparate nature of the script I found much to like about this film. Gyllenhaal and Hathaway are absolutely terrific and as a tandem legitimize these characters with every spoken word and flitted moment. There are awkward instances of hilarity, viscerally steamy passion, and several tender moments that I found touching. The ending may prove unsatisfying depending on what appeals to you. I didn't have a problem with it but, you know me. So is Love and other drugs worth 112 minutes of your time? I think it is. It's far from perfect but it succeeds due to the total sum of its parts and makes for an entertaining watch on date night.
The rating is for strong sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, and some drug material.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Love and other drugs comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.
The 1.85:1 framed video presentation offers refined high definition detail and resolute sharpness which draws out lots of subtle nuance in close and medium camera shots. Wide angle shots of the city look just as good with strong dimension and crisp object detail. Colors are deeply saturated with eye pleasing vitality and delineated depth. Contrast is boldly applied which gives bright images a punchy, dynamic quality while blacks remain respectably deep with good gradational structure in dark areas and shadows. Fleshtones are a little balmy but don't appear unnatural. I didn't observe any signs of video related anomalies and thought that the video had a pristine quality that looked great on my big screen.
Being a dialogue driven film the ability to clearly render that aspect is an important elements of the soundtrack. This DTS-HD Master Audio presentation had no problem in that regard. Voices were reproduced with transparent realism and lucid texture that appropriately held sway over the front soundstage. The surround mix made apropos use of the sound platform to render the films elements. I found it to be subtly engaging as it recreated the many acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The soundstage offered a nicely balanced mixture of ambience/background sounds and music that characterized the mood of the scene. There weren't any sub bass frequencies contained in the mix however the subwoofer was used to provide low bass emphasis where appropriate. The end result is a solid audio presentation that capably supports the source material.
- (HD) 4 deleted scenes totaling 7 minutes
- (HD) Love and other drugs: an actor's discussion - 8 minute featurette
- (HD) Beautifully complex: Anne Hathaway is Maggie - 3 minute featurette
- (HD) Reformed womanizer: Jake Gyllenhaal is Jamie - 3 minute featurette
- (HD) Selling Love and other drugs - 3 minute featurette
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- BD Live - Live Extras:
- Exclusive: Jakes favorite scene
- Live Lookup
- What's new
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc
Love and other drugs is an adult love story that strives for deeper meaning but comes full circle and reverts back to the security of the well traveled plot scenarios we have come to expect from romance films. This keeps it from being a better movie but doesn't mean it's without merit. I thoroughly enjoyed its awkward instances of hilarity, viscerally steamy passion, and tender moments. Stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway give terrific performances and share a mutual respect that positively correlates to their chemistry onscreen. Love and other drugs comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring superb high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound and an above average offering of bonus supplements that include interviews of the cast/crew, a glimpse behind the scenes and a few deleted sequences. If you're a fan this is worth picking up otherwise give it a rent on date night.
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