Orgasm, Inc. (2011)
Liz Canner's shocking yet entertaining documentary ORGASM INC. explores the strange science of female pleasure, and in the process reveals the often warped mentality of our pharmaceutical and medical industries. ORGASM INC. begins when filmmaker Liz Canner is hired to edit erotic videos to be used in a drug trial for a pharmaceutical company. Her employer is developing what they hope will be the first FDA approved "Viagra" drug for women that will treat a new disease: Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD). Intrigued, Liz decides to make a movie about the science of female pleasure. But she soon begins to suspect that her employer, along with other medical and pharmaceutical companies, might be trying to take advantage of women (and potentially endanger their health) in pursuit of profit. With unique access and a deft style of interviewing, Liz embarks on a nine year odyssey as she follows pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers who are racing to be the first to win FDA approval for their product - be it pill, patch, nose spray, or some other delivery device. The promised cure: "normal" sexual function and orgasm. The prize: billions of dollars in profits. Despite its serious agenda, Canner brings wry humor to her film. Featuring illuminating footage and interviews with activists, doctors and medical experts (including Chicago-based sex therapist Dr. Laura Berman, whose new show will debut on the Oprah Winfrey Network), ORGASM INC. is a powerful, timely and, yes, entertaining look inside Big Pharma and other medical companies with their often misleading marketing campaigns that literally and figuratively reshape our everyday lives. Upbeat, engaging, enlightening, and provocative, ORGASM INC. will change the way you think about sex. -- (C) First Run Features … More
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Critic Reviews for Orgasm, Inc.
Canner's deft exposť also makes clear that some of the highest-profile "experts" are shills for Big Pharma, and that genital mutilation is thriving in the West, in the form of cosmetic surgery.
Some subjects are so compelling that not even bad filmmaking can ruin them. And for most of "Orgasm Inc.'' it feels as if Canner is trying with all her might to do just that.
Many documentaries lose focus or become unwieldy as their directors uncover unexpected facts about their subjects, but Canner is able to keep Orgasm Inc. trained on its eponymous theme ...
Essentially, "Orgasm Inc." illustrates a time-honored principle of capitalism, which is that you'll never go broke by convincing women that something is wrong with them and then selling them something to make it better.
By taking a playful approach to a deeply serious subject, [director Liz Canner] explores the link between female sexuality and corporate profits with a style that's as entertaining as it is revelatory.
A must-see for women and men alike. So long as the filmmaker sticks to disturbing facts and figures...(the movie) provides a stiff tonic indeed.
[Shows] how the American pharmaceutical industry, in legion with famous doctors in its pay, has identified a disease, "female sexual dysfunction" (FSD), that they claim (dubiously) afflicts 43 percent of American women.
...may seem targeted at female audiences, but the film has a universal appeal with its slap at big pharmaceutical corporations that...turn healthy people into patients just to sell their drugs.
Canner gives us all the subtext that was missing from "Love and Other Drugs."
The film may not be orgasmic, but it is an education, a call to action, and a celebration of just how very normal female sexuality can be.
This is a strident issue movie with the feel of a more objective portrayal.
This thoughtful-if at times clumsy-film is the latest salvo in the ongoing debate over the increased power of the pharmaceutical industry.
An eye-opening, cautionary tale unveiling a diabolical corporate conspiracy to turn healthy people into patients by medicalizing everyday aspects of the human condition.
[T]hose of us worldly and wise about human sexuality will be angry to see laid so, er, bare, the medicalization of our culture's unwillingness to meet women on their own terms...
Liz Canner's exposť of what big business and hungry wannabes and hangers-on do best-exploit fears, insecurities and myths at the expense of others and to their own enrichment-is familiar except for its ingenious exploitation of the female orgasm.
Audience Reviews for Orgasm, Inc.
As insightful as the documentary "Orgasm, Inc" is at times, it should also come as no surprise that pharmaceutical companies are mostly just interested in profits. In fact, they are willing to invent illnesses, just to create patients from healthy people, in this case, Female Sexual Dysfunction. This turns out to be another episode in a long cycle in the misunderstanding and mistreatment of women that goes back centuries.(And I'll bet you thought "Hysteria" was just joking.)
Documentarian Liz Canner enters the picture when she is hired by Vivus to develop erotic videos for their clinical trials of a female viagra they are trying to develop.(It's a tough job but somebody has to do it.) That seems to be the most benign solution to this non-existent problem, with none lacking any serious side effects. The truth of the matter, smartly explained here, is that there is no problem because there is no normal, with everybody being wired differently. Actually, porn works. Or we could just get rid of religion.
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