Fred (Noah Bean) is the slimiest little shit to hit the screen in years, and one of the chief pleasures of J.C. Khoury’s inadvertently topical The Pill is watching the bastard continually squirm. After a one-night stand with Catholic Mindy (Rachel Boston), Fred spends the next day trying to convince her to take the morning-after pill, a two-step process that necessitates swallowing two capsules with a 12-hour interval between doses. Thus, stringing along the relationship-minded Mindy with false promises of romantic commitment, Fred accompanies the slightly unhinged woman to a family birthday party and other intimate events, sneaking off for a brief rendezvous with his actual live-in girlfriend. What makes Khoury’s film work—at least until its cop-out ending—is the consistency of Fred’s loathsomeness. As played by Bean, Fred is a twitchy mass of anxieties, but we’re never asked to empathize with him. Too bad the same applies to all the film’s female characters. Thus, instead of a portrait of male presumption, we’re given a world in which everyone is kind of terrible. Forced to choose between a nag of a girlfriend and an insanely hormonal fling, Fred’s awful actions, though never sympathetic, almost seem justified.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 14, 2011