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

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

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.