Jamie Randall (Gyllenhaal) is a Viagra salesman who falls in love with Maggie Murdock (Hathaway), a young woman who suffers from Parkinson's Disease; they start a relationship based on sex but end up actually falling in love with each other, to their mutual chagrin. A minor subplot involves Jamie's fat, nerdy brother Josh (Josh Gad), who gets kicked out of the house by his lover and moves in with Jamie, thereby disrupting his intimate life. Hilarity Ensues.
The film is probably best known for its Playing Against Type role for Hathaway, star of such Girl Next Door roles as The Princess Diaries movies, and for the amount of nudity and sex scenes it contains, to the point it can almost be considered Porn with Plot.
This film provides examples of:
- Bittersweet Ending: Sure, Jamie and Maggie end up together, but they're both very much aware that she will eventually lose all physical and mental coordination.
- Bowdlerise: The Spanish subtitles are hilarious because they have all the swear words censored... in a film with graphic sex scenes. It seems talking about sex is bad, but not showing sex.
- The Charmer: Jamie even lampshades it, delightfully enough.Jamie: You're gonna like me eventually. Everyone does.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Subverted. Jamie eventually does convince Maggie to be his girlfriend, but she doesn't change her behavior until the very end.
- Diagnosis from Dr. Badass: Trey tells Jamie EXACTLY what type of pain he's delivering.
- Double Entendre: Jamie's comment that "it's hard to believe" that Pfizer is making an erection drug starts Maggie off on a tangent.Maggie: It's hard to believe. It's gonna be pretty huge though. When I think of the size of the problem, and that it's growing larger, really....I just can't even imagine, to have found a solution to the stiffest, hardest, wow, Pfizer must be swelling with pride— [Jamie starts tickling her] Stop tickling me because you have a limp sense of humor!
- Dramatic Irony: Jamie works as a Drug Rep for Pfizer, the creator of Viagra, and he soon begins successfully selling the drug. Later on, he engages in a threesome at a party, taking Viagra to stimulate himself; he ends up having a negative reaction to the drug, which leaves him with a painfully erect and extremely sore penis, forcing him to go to the hospital. Yes, it turns out that the sex obsessed Viagra salesmen can't take Viagra himself.
- Fanservice: Both leads spend about half the movie butt naked.
- Friendly Tickle Torture: Jamie attacks Maggie with tickles during a scene on the couch. Like pretty much everything else they do in the movie, it ends with them having sex.
- The Film of the Book: It's loosely based on the 2005 non-fiction book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman.
- Home Porn Movie: Jamie and Maggie make one. Later, Jaime catches Josh watching it and masturbating, and is thoroughly disgusted.
- Interchangeable Asian Cultures: One character makes a terrible, "sexy" pun about her friend's race as a lead-up to a threesome. "She's Thai, and I'm Thai-curious." Which is made worse by the fact that the girl is blatantly Filipino.
- Lady Killer In Love: This is what the movie is about, and what makes it sweet. Jamie is initially a womanizer, and he's happy when Maggie wants a sex-only relationship. However, he still ends up developing feelings for her. When he first says "I love you" to her, he has a panic attack, because he never said this to anyone before.
- Modesty Bedsheet: Averted. Jamie and Maggie have a ton of sex but don’t bother to cover up. When, in a moment of brief shyness, she pulls her sheet up to her collarbone, Jamie gets off the bed and it uncovers her boob and she doesn’t bother to cover it up again.
- Present-Day Past: There's the introduction of Viagra and Prozac, and there's the bit with '90s ghetto blasters at the start. Nothing else sets this is '96. One character justifies being addicted to Internet porn by saying "Isn't everybody?" No, not in '96 they weren't. Not even in '97. Seriously, cast your mind back to how much porn there was on the Internet when the first Grand Theft Auto came out. There's even a scene Josh compares Jamie's penis to the Eye of Sauron, back before there was a common consensus on what that actually looked like, it being 5 years before The Lord of the Rings was a movie. Not to mention in the beginning of the film, there's Flat-screen LCD TV's in the background.
- Product Placement: For Pfizer and their products (mostly Viagra), but its somewhat subverted in that the entire company comes off looking like a bunch of douchebags.
- And lots of Bud and Bud Light abound.
- Sexy Coat Flashing: Maggie comes over to Jaime's apartment, and opens her coat, revealing that she's naked underneath. Then she notices that Josh is in the room. But - much to his disappointment - Josh didn't see her well because he did not have his glasses on.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: The men in this film are jerks. Gyllenhaal's redeemed by The Power of Love.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: A homeless man keeps showing up to take the Prozac Jamie dumps in the trash and once makes an offhand comment that he has a job interview later before scampering off with the drugs. We had seen him take the drugs repeatedly, but the relevance of this fact is never addressed.