Film4: Thursday 10 December, 11.25pm
Cocky salesman Jake Gyllenhaal is such a slick operator he can sell mobile phones to grannies. Now, to the consternation of his well-off family, he’s going to push samples for Pfizer pharmaceuticals. “Yes, they’re door-to-door salesmen…” agrees Jake, “only what they’re selling grosses $87billion a year.” Health care – it’s a cutthroat business.
The broad comedy of the opening section isn’t angry enough to qualify as satire. In any event, hard sell is swiftly sidelined for soft-core soap when free spirit sex-bomb Anne Hathaway steals cynical Jake’s heart. She has early on-set Parkinson’s, so there’ll be tears before bedtime.
And there’s a lot of bedtime. All over the place, actually. (In Brokeback Mountain they were married, and look how well that turned out.) The characters are as brash as cartoons, although the story is supposedly true. Another reason, perhaps, that it’s not especially compelling – on three different fronts: comedy, drama and heartwarmer. It’s director Edward Zwick’s weakest work since About Last Night…, 24 years and eight movies ago.