This is gratifyingly slick and manic and mood-elevating. But Maggie has early-onset Parkinson’s (incurable, even by Big Pharma), and pretty soon you get the feeling she’s so commitment-averse because she’s afraid to show her deep-down, little-girl neediness. You also get the feeling that director Edward Zwick—who started with Thirtysomething and moved on to Oscar-bait war movies—has rediscovered his inner Jason Reitman. Like the charismatically irresponsible heroes of Thank You for Smoking and Up in the Air, Jamie must develop a social conscience and learn to love.
Love & Other Drugs is crazily uneven, jumping back and forth between jerk-off jokes and Parkinson’s sufferers sharing their stories of hope. It’s the sort of movie in which half the audience will be drying their eyes and the other half rolling them. In the first hour, Hathaway is impressive. She seems finally to have grown into those enormous features; her face no longer looks like a Disney Channel Halloween mask. But Zwick should have dialed her down a notch. By the end she’s a painful reminder of Liza Minnelli, another overeager, oversize-featured actress who tried to do too much with her too-muchness and left us crying for less.