Steve Martin, Helena Bonham Carter
Directed by David Atkins
Steve-o gets serious as a dentist. Numbing Steve Martin has done drama before with striking results — I'm thinking especially of The Spanish Prisoner, not the soggy A Simple Twist of Fate. But the role of Frank Sangster, DDS, gives this protean talent — comic, actor, screenwriter, essayist, playwright, novelist — precious little to bite into. Frank's life in root canal is flowing along nicely; he has a thing going on with Jean (Laura Dern), his hygienist. But Jean is a little prissy for Frank's taste — she won't do it in the dental chair. Enter Susan (Helena Bonham Carter), a new patient with no qualms about getting freaky. Susan, a junkie with an eye for Frank's drug supply, escalates his life into lust, extortion and murder.
Sounds tasty. And first-time director-screenwriter David Atkins — a former rock drummer from a family of dentists — creates a film noir atmosphere with creepy skull X-rays and a climactic tooth extraction that will have you postponing your next dental appointment. Atkins wants to expose hidden moral decay, but his slack direction fails to touch a nerve. Martin was scarier and funnier extracting Bill Murray's molars without Novocaine in Little Shop of Horrors. Now that was one crazy dentist.
star ratingFox Searchlight Pictures
star ratingMagnet Releasing
star ratingUniversal Pictures
star ratingWarner Bros. Pictures
star ratingWarner Bros.
star ratingWalt Disney Studios Motion Pictures