Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- When we first meet Maggie in “Love & Other Drugs,” she’s being examined in a doctor’s office. A free-spirited young artist suffering from Parkinson’s disease, she’s worried about a blotch on her breast. She unbuttons her blouse and shows the mark to her physician, who calmly diagnoses it as a spider bite.
Anne Hathaway, who plays Maggie, exposes plenty more of her anatomy in this hyper, romantic dramedy. So does co-star Jake Gyllenhaal, whose brash pharmaceutical salesman Jamie falls so hard for her that he gives up his playboy ways.
Both co-stars seem to enjoy prancing around in their birthday suits, showing off bodies that are good advertisements for healthy diet and exercise.
All the nudity may help you forget the problematic script, which was inspired by Jamie Reidy’s memoir, “Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman.” Screenwriters Edward Zwick (who also directed), Charles Randolph and Marshall Herskovitz have turned Reidy’s account of shenanigans in the pharmaceutical industry into a treacly romance in which the shady business is relegated to a supporting role.
Maggie is initially wary of Jamie, and not just because of his flexible ethical code, which allows him to pose as an observing medical intern while Maggie bares her breast to the doctor. She’s more afraid of an intimate relationship that might make her rely on another human being while her disease takes its toll.
Hathaway and Gyllenhaal, previously paired in “Brokeback Mountain,” are both charismatic performers and together they set off some sparks. Yet I found myself wanting more of the satiric subplot involving Jamie’s rise as a drug salesman, including his friendships with his cynical boss (Oliver Platt), a sleazy doctor (Hank Azaria) and a married rival (Gabriel Macht) who previously had an affair with Maggie.
Their world, in which drug salesmen curry favor with doctors by procuring women and concert tickets, could have provided enough material for an interesting movie without the illness du jour.
“Love & Other Drugs,” from 20th Century Fox, opens today across the U.S. Rating: **
“Tangled,” Walt Disney’s 50th animated feature, combines elements of its old-fashioned films and modern technology with mixed success.
This musical 3-D version of the Rapunzel tale features the uplifting songs (by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater), vivid characters and gentle humor that you’ve come to expect from an animated Disney movie. However, it lacks the originality and magical touch of the studio’s classics.
Co-directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard have reworked the Brothers Grimm tale about a long-haired girl trapped in a tower, transforming Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore) from a commoner into a princess and changing her savior from a prince to a charming thief named Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi). New characters also include the fearless horse Maximus, the cute chameleon Pascal and the Stabbington Brothers, two giant goons who’ve been double-crossed by their former partner Flynn.
Rapunzel’s captor, the devious Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy), uses the teenager’s 70-foot-long golden tresses as an elixir to keep herself young. Rapunzel’s hair, especially when it’s used as a ladder to climb up the tower, and a floating lantern scene are wonderfully rendered in 3-D. Other times, the extra dimension adds little.
“Tangled,” from Walt Disney Pictures, opens today across the U.S. Rating: **1/2
What the Stars Mean: **** Excellent *** Good ** Average * Poor (No stars) Worthless
(Rick Warner is the movie critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)
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