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Novocaine
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Genre:Comedy
Year:2001
Rating:R
Length:1 Hour 35 Minutes
Cast:David Atkins, Steve Martin, Helena Bonham Carter, Laura Dern

In this darkly comic film noir from writer/director David Atkins, Steve Martin revisits dentistry -- an occupation he'd explored 15 years prior, in the camp musical Little Shop of Horrors. Novocaine casts Martin as a much more mild-mannered D.D.S., Dr. Frank Sangster. Engaged to a prim and delicate hygienist, Jean (Laura Dern), Sangster leads a placid, upper-middle class existence, save for the occasional visit from his deadbeat artist brother Harlan (Elias Koteas). But Sangster finds his life turned inside out from the moment the alluring Susan (Helena Bonham Carter) plops down in his reclining vinyl chair: Complaining about her molars, she's really more interested in the refrigerator of narcotics the good dentist keeps on hand for his patients in pain. Once they manage to get Sangster's guard down, Susan and her brother (Scott Caan) rob him blind -- and worse yet, frame him for the theft. When a dead body turns up in Sangster's sleek suburban home, he finds that clearing his name will be a difficult proposition indeed. Novocaine marks the directorial debut of screenwriter Atkins, who first made his mark with the script for Emir Kusturica's oddball cult favorite Arizona Dream (1993). Michael Hastings

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