A dentist becomes a murder suspect when he inadvertently
creates a chaotic situation after a patient seduces him.
Written and Directed by David Atkins
Starring Steve Martin, Helena Bonham Carter, Laura Dern,
Elias Koteas, Scott Caan, Lynne Thigpen, Keith David, Kevin Bacon
With a cast loaded with names like Steve Martin, Helena Bonham Carter, and Laura Dern, I had expected Novocaine to be significantly better than it was. This film tries very hard to be a serious noir film while simultaneously trying very hard to be a dark comedy. The film flip-flops between the two genres so frequently, that it fails to resemble a coherent film by the end of it.
Steve Martin clearly did this film for the paycheck and his lack of enthusiasm shows throughout. His chemistry with both Helena Bonham Carter and Laura Dern was questionable, but the two of them seemed to know this film wasn't going anywhere and just had fun with it. While the film does get mildly interesting in the third act following an unexpected plot twist, it fails to save the film as a whole. By the end of it, I had almost fallen asleep and found myself wishing I was watching Little Shop of Horrors, where Steve Martin plays a much funnier dentist.
Overall, Novocaine was a massive misfire that comedy enthusiasts would do well to avoid. The film takes itself too seriously while simultaneously not taking itself seriously enough. It's a whole mess of genres that doesn't help the film in the slightest and just turns it into something less than desirable.