Combustible Celluloid
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With: Steve Martin, Laura Dern, Helena Bonham Carter, Scott Caan, Elias Koteas, Keith David
Written by: David Atkins, based on a story by David Atkins, Paul Felopulos
Directed by: David Atkins
MPAA Rating: R for violence, sexuality, language and drug content
Running Time: 95
Date: 09/08/2001

Novocaine (2001)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Awful Tooth

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Steve Martin stars in this semi-serious thriller -- or at least if it was supposed to be funny, it's not. He plays a dentist, nowhere near as interesting as the one he played in Little Shop of Horrors, who cheats on his anal-retentive fiancee (Laura Dern) with an outlandish punk girl (Helena Bonham Carter, basically playing her same role from Fight Club). Before long she's stolen all his drugs and he finds himself accused of murder. Director David Atkins fails to cover the many plot holes (cavities?) and fails to strike a consistent tone, which detracts from Martin's performance as well. He's an actor who needs very specific characters to play -- he doesn't make it as an "everyman." Of course, the less funny Novocaine gets, the more annoying it gets as well.

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