The setting of this movie is contemporary relatively small town U.S.A. in a place akin to say suburbia in Maryland or someplace like East Hampton where things can get a bit ritzy but still retain a local relatively small town feel. |
The story revolves around the travails of Doug a by the book pharmacist, played by Sam Rockwell, who at best is underappreciated by his peers including his wife, and father in law who had owned the pharmacy and to them he is perceived as a bit of a laggard Yet because of how things don’t seem to change, they figure he would never bolt and maybe that is one of the reasons they kind of walk all over him a bit.
In an earlier scene in the movie, he participates in a bike race where he finishes so far behind everybody else, that they had been waiting for him for 45 minutes. In the meantime, his wife Kara, actually wins some of the races and runs a studio with spin classes with a bit of an iron rod verbally speaking. She is a tough cookie and has a bit of disdain for those who deem themselves qualified without the appropriate checks and proof in the pudding. There is something to be said for her position, she is not cutting corners, she does do the training and walks the walk but for sure she isn't diplomatic. Her only augmentation to her workouts is vitamins, not cheating or taking short cuts.
In the meantime, Doug makes a delivery to Mrs. Roberts, who is right oUT the character of Mrs. Robinson, in the 1967 movie the Graduate with the exception that she is much younger,and even more of a player and this character and the soundtrack at times makes this a bit of an ode to the 60’s movie. Mrs. Roberts, who is married to a mostly absent rich wheeler dealer husband, Jack, played by Ray Liotta, makes a play for Doug as a nice guy when he drops off a delivery of pills from the pharmacy.
She is a younger stunner but still highbrow and appreciates his nice guy, also youthful, good to hang with personality and they embark on an intoxicating brew of a relationship where she takes the lead but he certainly is right there with her.
This has some upside for both, she was lacking the real chummy relationship and he wasn't being uplifted by his immediate situation. But she does corrupt him into mixing the pills at the pharmacy and using them with her to augment their already steamy encounters, and hence the double meaning of the title of the film, they did have great chemistry but how much of it was enhanced by the chemicals. It seemed like they had a natural chemistry that way without anything additional being needed but she is such a believer in "pill popping" that this supposed enhancer has to be brought forth, especially since he has easy access as the pharmacist in town.
More so, she takes the quick fixes available rightly or wrongly in society, while at least Kara is doing the hard work with her pursuits, but not effecting any real chemistry with her husband or her cohorts that makes for excitement and fun.
In the meantime, he does some extra training and the chemical boost is kicking in as well and he enters the de France of the town, a bike race which he shockingly wins despite many keen entrants and suddenly he is looked upon with a bit more respect. This new found bravado might be a good thing but is just about all of it from the chemical enhances or has he discovered a new real side to himself through the enhances but separate from them ? But soon his judgment becomes clouded as he is intoxicated by the chemicals and Elizabeth as he now refers to Mrs. Roberts by her first name. It is interesting that he seems to retain his willpower which seems even stronger with the chemical imbibing, but loses some of his prior good judgment and his cloudy decision making is leading to possible dire consequences for both himself and others.
It is also interesting that the movie mentions Lance Armstrong, who took some chemicals but did retain his steely determination while you would figure that could go by the wayside eventually along with the better judgments that otherwise would have been there probably. There is a little pathos with Elizabeth, who really does want to break free, and see the wider world and all the characters here could be in a bit of a drought, of sorts, partly accentuated by status quo being continued, being good enough and not being questioned enough.
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