Writer-director David Atkins presents what may be one of the slickest and most skillful black comedies of the year in the blistering thriller Novocaine. Atkins cleverly drills in the point that there's more to the decaying of one's existence besides rotten gums, serving up a filling of macabre antics surrounding the world of dentistry. And what better way to convey the sardonic wit and quirkiness of his storyline than to feature manic and sharp-edged comic actor Steve Martin as doomed dentist Frank Sangster? Martin previously played another wacky smock-wearing oral surgeon in the musical comedy Little Shop of Horrors, but as Dr. Sangster, Martin gets to more fully explore the mischievous and seedily outlandish scope of Atkins's crackling imagination.
Dr. Sangster seemingly has things under control in his life. Frank has a thriving dental practice and is even engaged to his efficient hygienist Jean (Laura Dern). Still, with everything going to plan, Frank cannot help but feel receptive to any sort of shake-up to his routine. Just once, he would like to stir things up a bit in an effort to get out of his rut. Frank even wants to engage in some kinky practices in the dental chair, but Jean won't accommodate him. Hence, Frank is left with a hankering naughty urge to satisfy.
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