Saturday, August 29, 2015

Movie Review: "Novocaine" (2001)

Image Source
Director: David Atkins
Year: 2001
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Straight-laced dentist Frank Sangster (Steve Martin) believes he has a perfect life with a successful practice and a beautiful fianceƩ named Jean (Laura Dern). That is, until one day, a patient named Susan Ivey (Helena Bonham Carter) comes into his office and turns his life upside down. Because of one little lie spinning out of control, Frank suddenly becomes a suspected drug dealer and the prime suspect in a murder case.

Steve Martin takes a step outside of his normal and expected lighthearted comedic roles and dives head-first into the realm of dark comedy in the crime thriller "Novocaine." We won't pretend this is his best movie because it's certainly not. This film could also be off-putting to Martin's hardcore fans who are used to seeing him in parts like "The Jerk," "Cheaper By the Dozen," and "Father of the Bride." For us, this is a decent and entertaining film about a straight-laced dentist who falls for the wrong woman despite already being in a relationship. It has many good elements and is sort of a crime thriller and yet slightly noir, too. It also has some comedy, as we mentioned before, all of which are intermingled in a very dark, dramatic manner. There is a nice but flawed story here as it seems there are numerous times throughout the film where Steve Martin's character Frank could have gotten himself out of trouble, but chose the path of greatest resistance. All this trouble is because of a patient named Susan Ivy, played by Helena Bonham Carter, who is a drug addict and is obviously bad news the moment she is shown on screen. Carter tends to play these types of roles very well as she arouses certain desires in Frank and fulfills one of his sexual fantasies, leading him into thinking with the wrong head. Scott Caan plays Susan's asshole brother Duane, because when does Scott Caan not play an asshole? He comes around Frank's dentist office and threatens him in public, and when he winds up dead, Frank becomes the primary suspect. Laura Dern plays Jean, Frank's attractive but mildly fake fianceĆ©, who seems to be the doting lover but is also pretty wicked herself. The film comes down to a mystery: are Frank's meetings with Susan and Duane simply happenstance, or is their some bigger conspiracy? Who's involved and why? It does manage to keeps us engaged and stay relatively entertained, despite some missteps along the way. "Novocaine" can get pretty weird and disjointed, and though not wholly effective, it's worth a watch if you're a huge Steve Martin fan and want to see all of his movies, even the imperfect ones.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 38%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Begin Again"

No comments:

Post a Comment