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Side Effects

3.3 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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(May 16, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description


A well-intentioned film about a young pharmaceutical rep who is torn between earning a good living and living a good life, Side Effects tells the story of Karly Hert, portrayed by Katherine Heigl (Grey's Anatomy, Roswell), who also executive produced the project. Karly works for a company whose motto is "To protect and prolong life." But what they really mean is prolong their own) lives by making as much money as possible. Based on writer-director Kathleen Slattery-Moschkau's previous career as a legal pill pusher, Side Effects is a comedy with an agenda. Its goal is to educate viewers about the dangers of an uneducated sales force telling doctors which drugs to prescribe--regardless of the side effects. While Slattery-Moschkau is heavy handed in her delineation of who is good (the patients) and evil (the drug reps), her semi-autobiographical Karly is relatable. When we meet her, Karly has no patience with her pod-like boss. When her employer rhetorically asks, "How do you think I ended up in management?" Karly zings back, "There are rumors." But as she herself moves up in the company and earns expensive perks, Karly is seduced. Heigl gives an earnest, likable performance, especially during scenes with Lucian McAfee, who plays her boyfriend Zach. While her Norma Rae moment at the end of the film doesn't ring quite true, it gives the movie a fitting ending that ties together all the loose ends. --Jae-Ha Kim

Special Features

  • Director commentary
  • Bonus documentary
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Katherine Heigl, Lucian McAfee
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full length, Letterboxed, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Hummingbird Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: May 16, 2006
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EOTSA0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,359 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Side Effects" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 14, 2006
Format: DVD
At the very beginning of "Side Effects," our heroine, Karly Hert (Katherine Heigl), tells us that she sells drugs for a living, quickly adding that she does it legally. Karly is not a drug pusher; she is a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company. Writer/director/producer Kathleen Slatery-Moschkau worked several years in just such a job, so her objective here is to air the industry's dirty laundry and possibly convince you that drug pushers might not be that bad in comparison for the simple reason that the drug companies do not take as much of your money.

Katy is hired by the company, not because she knows anything about pharmaceuticals, but because she is a babe. However, Katy is not really comfortable in a corporate world where making money is the bottom line and her boss prefers that she wear panty hose is she is gong to wear a skirt. On the other hand, when they hired her they gave Katy a company car and that is nothing to sneeze at. Then Katy meets Zach Danner (Lucian McAfee), who is the antithesis of the world in which she lives. Zach's goal is build his own house and this ideal makes up for the fact he does not look like your typical leading man in a movie. Still, Katy is committed to their future together and circles the date on the calendar when she will quit her job so they can go built their home in the woods.

At that point "Side Effects" takes an interesting satirical turn because Katy decides that instead of following the company's scripts for selling durgs she is going to tell doctors the truth (to wit, their product is not any better than comparable products by their competitors, just more expensive).
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie has a lot of strikes against it - the different "locations" are frequently the same room with furniture rearranged. Narrative devices like text on screen or interlude interviews are picked up and abandoned at random. Subplots (in particular, those involving Karly's best friend and the rest of her family) are never resolved, and the dialogue is frequently clunky exposition of company rhetoric. Many of the supporting actors are obviously not in the same league as the main players, and it's not hard to predict the plot points of the film.

But the movie has heart and a winning lead actress in Katherine Heigl, and this movie has become one of my guilty pleasures. As a medical professional, I have heard all of the arguments for and against drug reps as depicted in this film, but the scenes where Karly shows how hard it is to do her job were particularly convicting. Corporate ethics aside, these are personal issues, and most of these people are just trying to pay the bills. The movie really humanizes the industry reps, even if the characters themselves aren't exactly three-dimensional.

And yes, Katherine Heigl takes her top off. Twice. I would consider it exploitative except that she executive produced this movie, and in that case, if you've got it, flaunt it. The brief nudity does fit logically into the scenes.

In the end, I recommend watching this movie with as light a heart as possible (and a little vodka, if you've got it). It's not revolutionary, but it raises good discussion points, and it will give you a fix until you can see Katherine Heigl on the far superior Grey's Anatomy.
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As a Katherine Hiegl fan, I thought I had been fortunate to discover one of her earlier unknown gems. OMG, there is NO way this could be considered fortunate! She does a great job being charming and adorable as always, but the movie itself is horrible: horrible writing and the cinematography is so bad that it looks like it was filmed at home with someone's video cam in their basement. The sound is that bad, too. I paid next to nothing for it, so it the story had been at least WATCHABLE, it would have been worth it. This is just a really bad, really shameful effort at movie making. Avoid at all costs.
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Format: DVD
I enjoyed this film for two reasons:

First, Katherine Heigl. Being a huge fan of Grey's Anatomy and of Katherine Heigl I had a hunch I would enjoy this movie, but her performance was even better than I expected. This is a bigger film role than normal for her, but she tackles it with ease and shows much more of her range than she does on Grey's. She gets the driven, determined quality of the character perfectly, and gives all of her frustrations a great comic quality. She's a very talented dramatic actress and this film suggests that she's an even better comic actress. Her timing is near perfect. And yes, she's devastatingly attractive and charming (was there any doubt there?). I hope this opens doors for her...

Second, the message. I happen to be a veteran of the pharmaceutical industry. I hope everyone can see this film and get a glimpse of the marketing practices of big pharma. It's fictional, obviously, but however hilariously absurd and gross the pharmaceutical industry may seems in this film, it's not an exaggeration. If you're in the medical profession or doing anything that is even remotely connected to medicine or pharmaceuticals it should be mandatory. Even if you're not - this affects us all.
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