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Case Number 21736: Small Claims Court

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Orgasm Inc.

First Run Features // 2011 // 73 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Josh Rode (Retired) // July 9th, 2011

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All Rise...

Judge Josh Rode's only sexual problem is being old and decrepit.

The Charge

Your pleasure is our business.

The Case

Okay, don't get too excited. Pun not intended. The cover of the DVD is the sexiest thing about Orgasm Inc. As you can clearly see, that's not saying a lot. While we're on the subject, you can ignore the little blurbs about the film that also grace the cover. It's not really all that "eye-opening," at least if you know even a little bit about how the prescription drug companies work. It is certainly far from "hilarious." I will agree that it is "as entertaining as it is revelatory," since it is not really much of either.

It does raise some interesting questions, but then it commits what I would consider a faux pas, if not an outright ethical violation: it chooses a side. I know, documentaries aren't hard-core journalism, but sheesh, give the other side a fighting chance.

Liz Canner is a documentary filmmaker who got burned out on projects involving "genocide, police brutality and world poverty," as the Director's Statement puts it. So when a drug company offered her a job editing porn films to use in a drug trial for a new medication designed to spur women's libidos, she took it on the condition that she could turn the camera on her employer at the same time. Much to their "hindsight is 20/20" chagrin, they accepted, and Liz soon found herself immersed in the world of pharmaceutical dog fighting.

At least, that's how it began. Several drug companies were in pursuit of some sort of medication to help with Female Sexual Dysfunction, including Liz's employer, but when her tape worked equally well on the test subjects with or without the new drug, it seemed that all the company had discovered was that (surprise!) women get excited watching porn. And thus the question arose: is Female Sexual Dysfunction a real condition? Or is it something made up by drug companies just so they can make drugs to combat it?

That's the stepping stone into 73 minutes of interviews (but it seemed much much longer) with drug company representatives, FSD experts, Liz's gynecologist, and an array of people who are hell-bent on fighting any sort of drug to cure something they don't deem to be a true disease. All of this is interspersed with some truly stupid animation depicting a literal race for the cure between a patch, a pill, and a tube of ointment, all with legs. There are also plenty of phallic symbols—Liz's favorite seems to be a rhinoceros, because several pop up in one form or another—and a visit to a vibrator museum where we're treated to the story of the curator's very first orgasm.

As the film goes on, the naysayers are given more and more screen time until the entire film effectively stabs Liz's original employer in the back by sympathizing completely with the counter point of view.

The take away message of the film appears to be that the only sexual problems women really have fall into two categories: they don't know their own anatomy well enough (specifically the location of the clitoris) or they're just too over-worked and tired to get in the mood. A third reason is implied: their sexual partners are uncaring jerks.

The full screen presentation ranges from crystal clear to "so grainy my digital camera on 'movie mode' could have done better." I have to assume this is on purpose, unless there was a day Liz just forgot to pack her good camera, but there doesn't seem to be any contextual reason for the fuzzy shots. The Dolby stereo is clear, but the music track is just obnoxious.

The extras include the Director's Statement, which explains the history of the film, and Liz's biography, both in simple text. There is also a "Take Action" link to resources for fighting the evil pharmaceutical companies, a trailer gallery, and three short deleted scenes. If you stick the DVD into your computer, you can also view PDF copies of her references. Alas, Liz's edited porn video is not included.

The Verdict

For the charge of Failing to Present Both Sides Fairly and Equally, Orgasm Inc. is found guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 70

Perp Profile

Studio: First Run Features
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 73 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Documentary

Distinguishing Marks

• Director's Statement
• Bonus Scenes
• Take Action
• Fact Sheet
• Biography


• IMDb
• Official Site

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