A friend of mine saw this movie with me, and his reaction was perfect, I thought. â€œDid Steve Martin owe someone a favor?â€ That is the utmost truth, because otherwise I donâ€™t see why he would choose to be in the utter crap that is Novocaine. From start to finish, the story is more like Novocaine on your brain, with awful dialogue, vain attempts at sardonic comedy, and obvious and uncreative metaphors to tell the story of a dentist who gets laid in his own dentist chair by a drug addict woman, and therefore is in love. Give me a break.
Whoâ€™s this seductive woman you say? Susan Ivey, played by Helena Bonham Carter, who is a drug-addict who seduces Dr. Frank Sangster, played by Steve Martin, into having sex in the dentist chair, which is one of his sick fantasies anyway. She then steals all of his narcotics, although he doesnâ€™t find out until the next day when heâ€™s questioned by a guy from the DEA about his amount of drugs that he keeps on file. So Frank lies and gets himself in deeper shit, assuming that he can get the drugs back from Susan, who he tracks down to a broken down hotel. She is there with her brother, who is incestuous apparently which is creepy but there really isnâ€™t much else said, who is selling the drugs that she stole. Frank finds this out but his heart is swept away by the sexy woman who seduced him in his own office. Well, to make a very very long story short, the brother finds out, gets pissed and says if he sees Frank again, heâ€™ll kill him, or something to that effect (who could tell, because all the character does is yell. Yeah, real good choice for an actor or a director). So the lovestruck dentist, who is engaged to one of his co-workers by the way (Jean Noble, played by Laura Dern), heads back to the hotel to make amends or something with Susan, but whoâ€™s under the covers but her brother. In self-defense, Frank stabs him in the hand with a pair of scissors, then runs, only later to find the brother dead on the floor of Frankâ€™s house with a shotgun having taken out his head. Franks ends up going to jail for this murder because there were bite marks all over the victim. Well, on the way to trial, Frank escapes because the officer heâ€™s with handcuffs him to a bench with a hand rail that comes off. So he takes off, and where does our Romeo go? Why back to the hotel silly so that he can apparently make amends with his dentist chair floozy. Well, it turns out that his fiancee is the one who has been setting him up the whole time, because she wants the dentist business all to herself. She ends up killing Frankâ€™s brother Harlan, played by Elias Koteas (or you may remember him as Casey Jones), so Frank takes the initiative to rip all his own teeth out, shove them in Harlanâ€™s gums, there by busting Jean for the murder of Frank when his dental records are checked. So Frank and Susan hitch a plane to France apparently where they live a happy life, with Frank wearing the dentures that Jean made to frame him. Happy happy, joy joy. Hardly.
The first problem with this movie is that every character in it is an ass hole. I donâ€™t care about any of them. Frank is a two timing bastard who thinks that having sex in a dental chair is true love. Susan is a woman who seduces a man for drugs (thatâ€™s my kind of girl). Harlan is also a drunk who canâ€™t take care of himself, nor desires to. For the majority of the movie, I was hoping Jean, who is trained in Karate, would kick some ass, mainly Frankâ€™s. However, nope she turns out to be the bad guy, and Frank wonâ€™t learn his lesson. So now I care about absolutely nobody. So Frank wins, woop-dee-shit. Now he can go to France with his little floozy and have kids (Yikes!!). Rule #1 for making a movie: Make characters that one can like or at least empathize with.
The other thing is that there are some very vain attempts to make dark comedy, much like Fight Club letâ€™s say, but the majority of them fail miserably, when set against the disturbing quality of the film, the almost suspensful plot, and the melodramatic music. The majority of the movie is played more like a dark analysis of mistakes and lies, and the quick attempts at humor fall short almost everytime. Whatâ€™s even more ironic is that the cover of the movie says: A perfect comedy. I would like to know what that reviewers idea of comedy is, because this sure wasnâ€™t it, and I personally have a really dark sense of humor. This was about as funny as Sleepers.
The only redemption to this movie was Kevin Bacon (Lord, I know I didnâ€™t just say that). Itâ€™s true though. Kevin Bacon plays the bit part of Lance Phelps, a famous actor following a cop around to get a feel for the character he will be playing in his next motion picture (much like The Hard Way). He is quite funny, and every time heâ€™s on the screen itâ€™s like salvation from the rest of the movie. You just want to cling to his character and ask him not to leave you with the rest of this terrible movie. Yet, he leaves, and you feel disappointed and lost. Sorry, I got off track there.
Anyway, so I guarantee you can find a better way to spend two hours than watching this movie. Itâ€™s kind of like a mix between the filming tricks of Requiem for a Dream, together with the attempt at dark humor like Fight Club, together with the physical humor of The Whole Nine Yards, if all three of those movies sucked.