Gruesome but Good Fun
maskirovka | Alexandria, Virginia | 08/31/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Steve Martin and Helena Bonham Carter's outing into comedic film noir in "Novocaine" is not destined to be in the Criterion Collection of great movies. But it is fun to watch...in part because I recently discovered that Bonham-Carter and Martin were involved with each other (I don't know whether this was before, during, or after the movie was shot). In any case, the two leads had some chemistry...And since I love Helena Bonham Carter (almost as much as I like Kate Winslet), that made "Novocaine" more than watchable for me.
The plot is simple. Steve Martin plays a dentist who seems to have it all: wealth, respect, the love of a good woman (played by Laura Dern), and a substantial dental practice. But then Helena Bonham Carter's character comes into his life and nothing is much the same after that (and Martin soon learns that the "good life" he was living was largely a tissue of lies). Helena Bonham Carter plays a character who is a very far cry from her period piece characters in "Room with a View," "Wings of a Dove," "Howard's End," etc. For one thing, she plays an American (with a faultless accent). She also plays a character whose appearance and behavior pretty much scream "I'm a bad girl but I've got a heart of gold."
I won't get into the plot machinations except to comment that if you are afraid of dentists and dentistry, this is probably not something you want to see. There is some gore (two murders) as well as one fairly explicit scene where Steve Martin and Helena Bonham Carter get "a little friendly" in the dentist's chair.
But it's all good fun nonetheless and people knocking it for "not being realistic" ought to skip comedies in general because real life seldom is funny...but this movie is...frequently."
Don't dentists use Lidocaine these days?
Kona | Emerald City | 05/23/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Dentist Frank Sangster's (Steve Martin) quiet life is turned upside-down when an odd new patient (Helen Bonham Carter) starts a spiral of drugs, lust, and murder.
I was hoping Martin would play another wacky dentist like his character in Little Shop of Horrors, but no such luck. This movie isn't a comedy and is too awkward to be a drama/thriller. Dr. Sangster is so relentlessly bland that he's too dull to care about, and Carter's slutty drug addict character is completely repulsive. Even with the two big stars plus Laura Dern as Sangster's fiancé, this feels like a low-budget, indie film with much ham acting and plot holes galore. The truly hideous finale will leave you cringing; all in all it's a big disappointment."