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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… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 38%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The casting is peculiar, the tone is off, the plot is uninteresting and the ending is sorry."
‑ Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"A coarse, witless and stunningly violent black comedy."
‑ Stephen Hunter, Washington Post
"This dark, stylish tale isn't for kids."
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"The film and site offer an offbeat trip, but this is certainly not recommended for anyone who's currently thinking about major dental work."
‑ Ellen Marshall, Film Threat
"In a world filled with technically beautiful dogs, every once in awhile it's nice to see a film that bets the bank on great storytelling and a whole lot of soul."
‑ Forrest Hartman, Reno Gazette-Journal
"Plays like the sort of silly shared fantasy that a group of dental students might come up with late one night, after too much coffee and cramming for finals."
‑ Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel
"Atkins never finds the right tone for Novocaine. It's not dark enough to be either viciously funny or unsettling."
‑ Stephanie Zacharek,
"It is entertaining enough to arouse imagination of post-Tarantino audience."
‑ Dragan Antulov, Draxblog Movie Reviews
"To say this is black comedy is to understate the case, but the fun parts really are a hoot."
‑ Jean Lowerison, San Diego Metropolitan
"Filled with dark, edgy details and atmosphere, but ultimately becomes a very cold enterprise because you simply don't care about any of the characters."
‑ David Noh, Film Journal International
"This movie was not effective."
‑ Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper
"With Bonham Carter's been-there, done-that performance and a plot that spins out of control, we end up with a movie that you can't quite sink your teeth into."
‑ Claudia Puig, USA Today
"Prejudicado por um roteiro previsível e que jamais opta por um gênero claro, o filme traz uma ótima atuação de Steve Martin, que deveria fazer mais filmes "sérios"."
‑ Pablo Villaca, Cinema em Cena
"While the plot does work in mechanical terms, its multiple ins and outs never achieve more than plodding motion."
‑ Margaret A. McGurk, Cincinnati Enquirer
"Intriguingly straddles genres a bit, but a faint sliver of the film it could have been... [with a] lame, roundly unsatisfying motivation and ending."
‑ Brent Simon, Entertainment Today
More reviews for Novocaine on Rotten Tomatoes