Hard Pill

"Very Good"

Hard Pill Review


What if a gay guy could take a pill that would make him straight? Would he do it? What kinds of consequences would there be? While a setup like this is easy to imagine, it's more of a challenge to follow through with a screenplay that doesn't descend into camp. Hard Pill succeeds through subtlety, not only by exploring the huge psychological price paid by the guy who takes the pill, but also by noting the damage his decision inflicts on the friends he has spent years gathering around him.

Young L.A. average gay guy Tim (Jonathan Slavin) is unlucky in love and gets his only sexual kicks by providing quickies to his allegedly straight friend Don (Mike Begovich). His crush on the new arrival at the office, Matt (Jason Bushman), comes to a halt when he finds out Matt is straight, so he's left to chat with his overweight officemate and friend Sally (Susan Slome) and to be dragged reluctantly to the bars by his out and proud friend Joey (Scotch Ellis Loring), who has the annoying habit of abandoning him as soon as he makes a bathroom hookup for the night.

When Tim hears of a clinical trial for a pill to turn homos hetero, he jumps at the chance, As he sees it, his life could only improve. His friends learn of his plan and are horrified, especially Joey, who sees the whole thing as a sort of "genocide," tantamount to rounding up the gays and pushing them into ovens. But Tim pushes ahead, knowing that the ground rules include avoiding all human contact for one hour after taking the pill and also avoiding any new romantic relationships until the effects are known.

Of course Tim screws up, and after taking his first pill can't help but heading over to Sally's place and ravishing her in her kitchen, much to her delight. In fact, it's sort of a dream come true for her: unrequited love turned flagrantly requited. But Tim keeps moving along and soon starts a romance with Tanya (Jennifer Elise Cox), a nice young woman who has no idea what Tim has been up to. (Note: in the DVD gag reel you see Cox doing a dead-on Jan Brady impersonation, and then you realize that it was she who played Jan in those hilarious Brady Bunch movies.)

Soon everything is a mess. Sally's been used and tossed aside. Joey feels betrayed. Tanya senses something is not quite right, and even Don is lamenting the loss of Tim's friendship (and the loss of his free quickies). Tim ends up in an even worse place than he was before, but what will happen if he reverses course now?

Director John Baumgartner lucked out by finding a strong cast and giving them plenty of room to navigate. Perhaps because of its low budget, the settings, the conversations, the shouting matches all feel authentic. There's a lot to discuss here, and the script makes many great points but always within the context of the story. Watch it with friends, and debate it when it ends.

We want the soft pill.



Hard Pill

Facts and Figures

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 19th January 2006

Production compaines: Stoebner/Baumgartner Company

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: John Baumgartner

Producer: Susan Stoebner

Starring: as Tim, Scotch Ellis Loring as Joey, Susan Slome as Sally, Mike Begovich as Don, as Tanya, as Matt, as Mom, Michael Chieffo as Dad, as Protester

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.