Jake Gyllenhaal Jamie Randall
Anne Hathaway Maggie Murdoch
Director: Edward Zwick
Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, and some drug material
Anne Hathaway & Jake Gyllenhaal star in this romdramacom. It earns every ounce of it's R rating with plenty of nudity, not all of it pretty. There's a spider bitten breast that still has me squeamish.
Jamie Randall is a womanizing manipulator of a man who uses this “gift” to succeed in his sales career, charming his way to closing the sale. Unfortunately, when he sleeps with his boss’ wife, it doesn’t end in a promotion. An unintended cell phone call during that interlude results in Jamie running from the store half-dressed. Yet, a lucrative position with a pharmaceutical company is just around the corner for Jamie.
Maggie Murdoch is an artist with stage one Parkinson's disease. She meets Jamie during a doctor‘s visit. Jamie is pitching his meds to the doctor and manages to follow him through the office that day. Sweet talking the doctor‘s secretary, with whom he is sleeping, Jamie gets Maggie‘s phone number and the pursuit is on.
Maggie sees Jamie’s sleeping around as his escape from the reality of being “him”. Looking for a similar escape, she proposes a no strings attached sexual relationship.
Somewhere along the line, Jamie falls in love with Maggie, and turns into a somewhat better person misunderstood by everyone – including himself. It seems that while a steady diet of no strings sex with her turns him into a monogamous boyfriend, he remains an unscrupulous pharmaceutical rep with no qualms about throwing away his competitor's samples. These discarded antidepressant samples make quite a difference in the life of a dumpster diving homeless man.
Initially opposed to a relationship, Maggie gives in to her feelings for Jamie and they become a couple. Maggie accompanies Jamie out of town, where he is attending a pharmaceutical convention. While he’s in a meeting, she finds a Parkinson’s related meeting across the street. It’s a transforming experience, and she texts Jamie, asking him to meet her there.
Stopping to grab a coffee in the lobby, Jamie has a brief conversation with a stranger, which impacts Jamie significantly. This stranger's wife is in stage four with her Parkinson's. He shares with Jamie that on the scale of his marriage's worth, Parkinson's impact on him – not his wife - weighed heavier than all else - even the love he says he still feels for her. He advises Jamie to leave a nice note and get out while he can.
Jamie’s selfish inner nature is easily pulled back to the surface by this random conversation, and he becomes desperate to find a Parkinson's cure for Maggie; dragging her to numerous doctors and testing facilities. Maggie comes to realize that he needs hope for a cure in order to love her. She tells Jamie it's over, intentionally relieving him of the shame of walking out on a sick girl.
Jamie resists initially, but goes back to his old ways. A Viagra mishap lands him in the emergency room after a Ménage à trois, and seriously, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
Jamie gets a big promotion and he’s moving to Chicago. Viagra was his to promote, and who could sell it better than Jamie Randall? As he’s packing, he stumbles upon a video of Maggie during the time they were dating, and her comments cause him to reevaluate what he finds meaningful.
Hathaway & Gyllenhaal do an amazing job with their parts. Hathaway convincingly displays the tremors and frustration that Parkinson‘s brings with it, and ultimately the acceptance that energizes her to conquer that frustration. Gyllenhaal is every bit the clueless cad and subsequently the reformed boyfriend in this film.
The problem with this film wasn't the directing or acting, it was the plot. In real life louses don’t turn into nice guys simply by feeding them a steady diet of casual sex. This story was a predictable and unrealistic manipulation of characters and the consequences of their actions.
Theater Release Date: November 4, 2010
DVD Release Date: March 1, 2011
I purchased this DVD with my own funds and was not compensated to provide a review.