Here, Jake Gyllenhaal plays Jamie; a pharmaceutical sales rep in a small mid-Western town who meets Maggie, a young Parkinson’s disease sufferer played by Anne Hathaway and embarks on a whirlwind romance.
Both Gyllenhaal and Hathaway give capable performances in the film. Gyllenhaal manages to be smarmy and cock-sure while being likeable and Hathaway is credible as a quirky but confident artist. It is their relationship on screen where the film’s strength lies. You believe that both the actors and their characters enjoy spending time with each other and they appear to riff off one another with ease. When things start to get emotional however, Hathaway outshines Gyllenhaal who appears wooden.
The film grows from a comedy to a more serious feature as it and Hathaway’s Parkinson’s progress and this I believe is a good thing. Often the better Romantic Comedies are the ones who aren’t afraid to leave the comedy behind for long periods of time. The film also drew some attention for its nudity and bold sex scenes. While both actor’s bottoms and Hathaway’s breasts are on screen several times, I believe that it and the sex are done in a tasteful way which is integral to the storyline. There is nothing gratuitous or objectifying in any of these scenes.
One problem with an otherwise admirable film is that Gyllenhaal’s character appears to be a bit of a screw up in the first act and is ridiculed by his family for being the only member not to be a doctor when it is obvious from the outset that he is a smart and determined man. Why he is not more successful is unclear and he soon becomes a top salesman thanks to his gift of the gab and the invention of Viagra which he has no trouble selling.
As with most Hollywood Rom-Coms there are ups and down in the relationship and the film but with more ups in both respects. It is an above average Romantic comedy with some fine performances by its lead actors.