By Isaac Butler
Look, there was probably next to no chance I was going to see Love and Other Drugs to begin with. But this (positive!) review put the nail in the coffin with this paragraph:
A smoothly coiffed preppie from a doctor's family (his parents are played by George Segal and Jill Clayburgh, in what I believe is her final screen role), Jamie is much too sure of himself with girls, gear and money, but Gyllenhaal somehow stops him just short of being unforgivably odious. Maybe what we can see below the surface is what Parkinson's patient Maggie Murdock (Hathaway) also sees -- even after Jamie gets a close look at her breast under false pretenses and she responds by decking him in a parking lot. He's not a decent guy at the moment, even by the standards of antidepressant salesmen in Cleveland. But he might be a decent guy in embryo.
Blerg. I am not sure I can put into words how fed up I am by the whole "the guy's an asshole, but the woman sees something in him and through fucking him a lot, redeems him" thing. And furthermore, I'm a bit fed up by male critics not realizing that this is blatant wish-fulfillment for male audiences . At least reviewers seem to have figured out that Anne Hathaway's character (a terminally-ill redeemer who likes to fuck a lot but might not want to be in love who changes Jake Gyllenhaal for the better) is a cardboard construct.
Back when the second Twilight film came out, there was a lot of talk about the fantasy that those movies sell young women. Bella is, essentially, a character without qualities, entirely passive, uninteresting and devoid of personality who men throw themselves at because it turns out she has some kind of secret power that fascinates them. This is the man-child equivalent of that fantasy, and I'm sick of watching it. It's perfectly possible to construct a romantic comedy (or weepy, for that matter) without it. Furthermore, while I think this is meant to be an exaggeration of something many of us feel-- that we are improved, and to some extent redeemed, by our successful relationships-- this trope lacks even the vaguest whiff of actual truthful perceptiveness about relationships, or life, or men and women.
In short, this morning I'm appreciating Greenberg more and more.