By Kevin Donnellan
It’s tough going walking into a cinema late just as a film is starting. It’s even tougher when it’s a rom-com and you’re a man going to the cinema with his mates. Negotiating your way through a room full of women with the occasional reluctant boyfriend in tow is not pleasant. We persevere. But that’s what this is right? A rom-com.
Yeah it is, but not in the way the trailers for it suggest. The TV ads make it look like your typical by-the-numbers chick-flick. ‘Two beautiful people! They clash! They fall in love! Wacky sidekick alert!” In fairness the film has all of this, but it has a lot more besides. For one thing there’s cursing and nudity, hurrah! Then there’s the PROBLEM, you know the thing that causes friction between our beautiful protagonists? Well here it’s not some dastardly fiancee or some complicated lie, here the PROBLEM is that Anne Hathaway’s character Maggie has early onset Parkinson’s.
There are no magic cures, no ways around it, Maggie is sick and going to get sicker. The film revolves around how Pfizer rep, Jamie (Jake Gyllenhaal), and her build a relationship with this shadow on the horizon. The pharmaceutical industry gets slapped around a bit in the midst of all this too (you’ll wonder how Pfizer agreed to be put at the heart of this tale).
The only problem with the story is Hathaway’s character, Maggie ticks every box on the free-spirited-one-in-a-million-girl checklist. For the first half of the film she’s deeply, deeply irritating. Is there a Hollywood script engine that just keeps churning these out? Thankfully once the serious bits kick in Hathaway has the acting chops to invest her character with enough humanity for us to feel empathy for her. For a while I was worried I’d be happy she had the disease.
Overall this is a rom-com worth seeing, even if you’re a single bloke.