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Featured DVD Review: Orgasm Inc.

July 22nd, 2011

Orgasm Inc. - Buy from Amazon

Orgasm Inc. opened earlier in the year and did quite well on the per theater chart, especially for a documentary, but the following week it collapsed. It did have a sensationalistic subject and perhaps its opening weekend was the result of hype more than anything else. Or did the subject matter make it more difficult for the film to expand?

The Movie

Elizabeth Canner began this film as part of a project for Vivus, a pharmaceutical company looking to create medication that could help with Female Sexual Dysfunction. They needed erotic footage to help with testing. Elizabeth Canner thought the company itself and the medical issue was interesting enough to be the subject of a documentary. She has amazing access to the company, but this is not a puff piece, because one of the people she interviews is Ray Moynihan, a journalist and co-author of Selling Sickness. The other side is also represented by Leonore Tiefert, who fought against the FDA defining Female Sexual Dysfunction as a disease.

For the next 80 minutes or so, we see the debate on FSD, and female sexuality in general, as well as the effects of the consumer mentality on the pharmaceutical industry. Specific approaches are mentioned, and some truly disturbing information is presented. (The big number repeated over and over again, '43% of woman have FDS' appears mostly made up by people with heavy ties to the pharmaceutical industry.) It balances the information and the entertainment value well, and even though much of what we hear is rather depressing, there are some happy stories as well. It perhaps doesn't have a laser-like focus, but it is certainly compelling.

On a side note, Viagra may in fact be the downfall of a lot of potential medications in the future. In order for medication to be approved, it has to beat the placebo. However, Viagra is such a well known pill and has had such a huge impact on popular culture, that people expect pills to be little miracles. I think this is the reason why the Placebo Effect has increased over the last few years.

The Extras

Extras start with three deleted scenes that run close to five minutes in total, plus a text based director's statement, biography, and two text-based resource sections.

The Verdict

Orgasm Inc. is as good as its Tomatometer Score would indicate, and much better than its box office performance. Sexuality, especially female sexuality, is still a very big taboo subject, which is likely why this film underperformed at the box office. This is a shame, as this is likely the same reason why FSD is the target of so many pharmaceutical companies. There are not a lot of extras on the DVD, but overall it is still worth picking up.

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