Novocaine review by crosshairs

Story Summary

Steve Martin plays a wonderfully nice dentist whose life is perfect, until the day he meets a woman who begins chipping away at the enamel of his life. The dentist quickly finds his life unraveling around himself. His world decays from a pristine one in which everything is controlled and tidy into a twisted nightmare of drugs, murder, fat prison guards, and worst of all dentistry from hell. The self-discovery of Martins character leads the dentist to regret previously made decisions and attempt to correct them to no avail. This is a fairly typical snowball type movie with enough twists and turns to make the climax worth watching. The ending is fairly happy, depending on your disposition and personal outlook on the French.


Novocaine is your traditional story of man meets woman, screws up his life royally, and then spends a tremendous amount of time and effort attempting to correct this drastic mistake. Like many men before him, Frank Sangster (Martin), finds his life arguably perfect until the day he decides to add woman to the equation. In the story line, Sangster is engaged to a beautiful, buxom blonde who is played by Noble. This lovely character is completely enthralled with every interest of the good dentist. No doubt we would all love to find the perfect one. But then writer/director Atkins tosses a wrench into this supposedly sublime existence in the form of a shady drifter played by Carter. Now as all post-pubescent men should know, there are very few things in this world that result in a readily stable life. Dating two women at the same time is not one of those things.

Enter the tragic flaw of our hero. Through the interactions of the dentist, the dentists hard luck brother, the perfect fiance, and the tantalizing drifter, Atkins manages to string together a plot that is at times reminiscent of other favorites such as Mamets Spanish Prisoner, yet entertaining and insightful. The amount of foreshadowing is enough to keep the viewer in tune of what is to come, but unsure of how exactly the plot will wind its way to the fore-disclosed conclusion. Overall, the shots are well arranged and mostly supportive to the storyline. The complexity of the characters allows their expressions to be taken at face value while not excluding them from causing the viewer to second guess the intentions. If I were to delve into picking apart the intricacies of the plot and cinematography I would only destroy the effect created by twists and turns.

DVD features

Arguably one of the best features on the disk is the directors commentary. If your brain happens to be so numb from either the plot or the case of beer, you can still be spoon-fed the symbology and directors interpretation (quite convenient for viewers wanting to sound important without actually putting forth the effort to think). Another intriguing feature is the documentary on forensic dentistry. Not overly enlightening, but still worth watching nonetheless if you are interested in what ticks those dudes clocks.

Final Thoughts

This film may not be the best film of the year, but it is most surely one of the better ones. If you are wanting a comedy to watch on a first date, you probably shouldnt pick this movie. I would recommend it with a decent merlot, a bottle of beer, or just a plain old can of your favorite poison.

8 out of 10 Jackasses
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