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[Short Reviews]


From first-time director David Atkins comes this quirky, uneven, Roger Corman–esque black comedy that begs the question: do dentists walk on the wild side? Steve Martin (his unique talents utterly wasted) is engaged to his perky, perfect hygienist (Laura Dern, not as toothsome as usual, but her tai kwan do moves are impressive), and he maintains a gleaming-white perfect existence. When a bedraggled, Demerol-addicted urchin (a miscast Helena Bonham Carter, who nevertheless turns in the film’s best performance) seduces him, he becomes obsessed with her ugly world (drugs, incest, murder, ill-fitting vintage clothing). Watching an uptight professional unravel as he chases an unattainable twist of tail is familiar stuff, but there are some interesting visuals (X-ray photography in the opening credits) and funny plot twists, so even those who are phobic about going to the dentist might be able to grin and bear this one.


Issue Date: November 15 - 22, 2001

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