'Love & Other Drugs' and its (naked) endorsement of Prozac
Image Credit: David JamesEdward Zwick’s Love & Other Drugs, the Jake Gyllenhaal-Anne Hathaway film that opened on Wednesday, tells the story of a slick (naked) pharmaceutical salesman who falls in love with a free-spirited (naked) Parkinson’s patient. You probably have read about how the gorgeous (naked) couple gets naked, but the film is also notable for being highly critical of the pharmaceutical industry. Doctors are depicted as unethical and corrupt, accepting favors from salesmen in exchange for prescribing one rival drug over another. The salesmen themselves and the companies they represent are equally shameless, saying anything — and sleeping with anyone — to sell enough units to get them the latest Porsche.
But buried beneath the criticism is a joke that seems to slightly endorse Prozac. Gyllenhaal’s character is pushing Zoloft, and every time he drops off some free samples at one doctor’s office, he makes sure to steal the Prozac samples and dump them in the parking lot dumpster. A homeless man takes an interest in the pills, and as the film unfolds, we see him right his life to the point that he has a job interview. The payoff gets a laugh, but I wonder if the filmmakers were making a statement, if this was a subtle attempt at product placement, or if I’m simply off my own meds. UPDATE: Looks like it might be neither a statement about the drugs themselves, nor product placement. Zwick issued the following statement to EW: “It’s not the drugs that are the problem. It’s the way they are sold — first to the doctors, and then to the patients.”
Have you seen the film yet? Did the Prozac/homeless-man gag make you think twice?