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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Political > Drama > Side Effects (2005/Heigl)

Side Effects (2005)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Film: B-



How bad are things in this country?  Well, how about two films comes out in 2005 called Side Effects and both attack the prescription drug industry?  The first of the two is a pleasant comedy by first time producer/writer/director Kathleen Slattery-Moschkau starring the terrific Katherine Heigl (from the great hit TV series Grey’s Anatomy) as a Karly, a fine young lady and college graduate just looking for a job that will pay well enough to get by.  Instead, she lucks out and becomes a rep for a major drug firm who just happens to be ready to launch a brand new wonder drug that will make living better for all who use it.


She even gets a company car and falls for a great guy, but unfortunately, the drug is not what it is cracked up to be and may be far worse than that.  However, that is not immediately apparent and Karly’s story is more than interesting enough to keep watching throughout.  Heigl is one of our great new lead actresses and screen personalities, a beautiful, smart woman who the camera loves and is slowly becoming a bigger and bigger star.


The film is well rounded, intelligent, mature and likable, but some things limit it.  If it is not enough that the film may not go far enough in criticizing the industry in getting anything approved just to make billions and push up a stock price, the lack of criticism could easily have members of that industry write this off by saying “see, we’re not that bad and that death was a fluke” or the like.  Slattery-Moschkau tries to take the classy approach, but that unfortunately has limited effects in this case.  On the other hand, Karly is an intelligent, able-bodied, three-dimensional woman of the kind we do not see enough anywhere.  Cheers to Heigl to bringing her to convincing life.


The letterboxed 1.85 X 1 image is not bad, but since it was shot so nicely by cinematographer Carl F. Whitney, the anamorphic treatment would have been nice.  The look is coyly commercial at times, not even unlike an ad for drugs on TV, but there is more to the look in the form of nuance.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has no real surrounds, but is a nice new clean and clear recording.  Extras include a documentary about the pharmaceutical industry, stills, behind the scenes featurette and commentary by the director.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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