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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Novocaine (2001)

A buttoned down dentist (Steve Martin) would seem to have the ideal life. His own clinic, an adoring fiancee (Laura Dern), a nice house, plenty of money. But when an attractive drug addict (Helena Bonham Carter) scams him, instead of going to the police, he finds himself obsessed with her. But it's only the beginning of a downward spiral of sex, drugs and murder. This black comedy has so much going for it that it's a real pity that David Atkins, the director/screenwriter, didn't clean it up a lot more. It's hard to warm up to Martin's dentist when he's so foolish. He's the biggest dupe since Fred MacMurray in DOUBLE INDEMNITY. He just walks right in when all the signs are screaming "This is not a good idea!". Also the murderer, who's been very meticulous to cover their tracks, leaves a key piece of evidence in plain sight! Still, its mixture of sex and graphic violence seems at odds with a Steve Martin comedy which might explain why the film wasn't a hit. But most of the film is so good that it makes its ultimate failure frustrating. With Kevin Bacon, Scott Caan, Keith David and Lynne Thigpen. 

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