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NOVOCAINE review (1 Viewer)

Michael Reuben

Senior HTF Member
Feb 12, 1998
Real Name
Michael Reuben
An entertainingly sick little movie. The plot is drawn from film noir cliches -- a sap falls for a femme fatale, with deadly consequences. But what distinguishes the film is the way everything is cartoonishly exaggerated, as suggested by the demonic-looking stuffed bunny used as a sort of logo in the film's promotional material. (And yes, it does appear in the film.)
The sap, a dentist played by Steve Martin, isn't just dumb; he's ludicrously stupid and as easily manipulated as Elmer Fudd. His brother, played by Elias Koteas, isn't just a poor relation; he's the freeloading relative from hell. The thug, played by Scott Caan, isn't just loud and violent; he delivers every line at the top of his lungs and beats on people without caring where he is or who's watching (in the real world, he probably wouldn't stay out of police custody long enough to remain in the story). The law enforcement people aren't just intimidating; they're downright obnoxious (Keith David does a sly riff on the many cops he's played in the past). And the women in Martin's life, played by Laura Dern and Helena Bonham Carter -- well, I won't spoil it, but both actresses do a wonderful job. Bonham Carter's character may remind you of her role in Fight Club, but Dern is doing things I've never seen from her before.
The plot has some entertaining twists and turns, and the resolution is satisfying, though not for a minute believable (not that it matters). With an amusing cameo by an uncredited Kevin Bacon and solid supporting work by Lynne Thigpen as Martin's office manager.
Novocaine runs 95 minutes, and if you aren't squeamish about dentistry, it's a diverting change from the big budget studio fare that's starting to pour into theaters. Currently playing in L.A. and New York, but Artisan is supposed to open it wider in the next few weeks.

Michael St. Clair

Senior HTF Member
May 3, 1999
Actually, I just saw it here in Cincinnati at an art house.
Very good flick! Watching it actually felt like reading a book, which is a feeling I don't know if I've ever had before while watching a film. I suspect this film will not make as much money as it should, go see it!

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