Thompson on Hollywood

Twentieth Century Fox is planning an awards-campaign for its R-rated sexy romance Love and Other Drugs, from writer-director-producer Edward Zwick (Glory, The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond). He is that rare studio director who is conversant in both the language of mainstream big-budget moviemaking and intimate drama. He and partner Marshall Herskovitz delivered the acutely-observed TV series Thirtysomething, Once and Again, Relativity and My So-Called Life. So much sweat and tears go into such long-running shows that Zwick can be forgiven for steering toward testosterone action in his movie work.

The trailer for the movie (which opens November 24) is below:

I have long wished that Zwick would head in a James L. Brooks direction into smart relationship comedy/drama territory. At last he seems to be bringing some of that laser sensibility to Love and Other Drugs, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a cocky drug salesman on a career high from the success of viagra, and the sharp woman who has his number (Anne Hathaway). Tragedy ensues (spoiler alert!) in the form of a debilitating disease (paging Love Story). It is one of the trickiest high-wire acts to pull off--asking the audience to laugh one minute, cry the next, while never losing believability.