Novocaine 2001

Novocaine

Critics Consensus

The quirky Novocaine flirts with both dark comedy and noir suspense, but the result is a jarring mix of tones which never quite mesh.

38%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 107

38%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,450

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Movie Info

Steve Martin is a prosperous dentist, secure in his neatly ordered existence and happily engaged to his ambitious dental hygienist (Laura Dern). But when an alluring new patient (Helena Bonham Carter) steps into his life, this ordinary man discovers how little control he has over his world as he is drawn into a maelstrom of sex, drugs and murder. Edgy and unpredictable, "Novocaine" also stars Kevin Bacon and Scott Caan and marks the feature directorial debut of writer David Atkins.

Cast & Crew

Steve Martin
Frank Sangster
Laura Dern
Jean Noble
Elias Koteas
Harlan Sangster
Keith David
Detective Lunt
Paul Felopulos
Writer (Story)
David Atkins
Writer (Story)
David Atkins
Writer (Screenplay)
Michele Weisler
Executive Producer
Vilko Filac
Director of Photography
Sharon Seymour
Production Designer
Melody London
Film Editor
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News & Interviews for Novocaine

Critic Reviews for Novocaine

All Critics (107) | Top Critics (31) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (66)

Audience Reviews for Novocaine

  • Sep 01, 2014
    Odd but strangely alluring, Novocaine is a suspenseful back comedy. After being seduced by a femme fatale, Dr. Frank Sangster finds himself caught up in a web of lies, sex, and murder. Starring Steve Martin, Helena Bonham Carter, Laura Dern, and Scott Caan, the cast is quite good, as are the performances (especially Carter's). Additionally, the writing balances the dark themes with light humor rather well. Still, the film does have some problems, as the tone's a bit uneven at times and most of the characters aren't fleshed out. Novocaine has some rough spots, but overall it's an entertaining film that's full of intrigue.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 10, 2014
    We know that Steve Martin is smarter than the character he plays here, a dentist who inexplicably gets involved with femme fatale Helena Bonham Carter, and that damages the believability. Their scenes together offer the best moments, while Laura Dern and an uncredited Kevin Bacon get to chew a little scenery. Problem is the tone is neither serious nor comic enough, so what we have is a rather vanilla thrilla.
    Doctor S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 21, 2014
    Martin took a chance in being in this little known, little seen, conspiracy thriller. It has an interesting concept and the plot is definitely worth following, but the ultimate villain isn't all that impressive or frightening. What makes this film especially unseemly has to be its reliance on black humor, which comes off less funny and more grotesque. There's this scene near the end that is so disgusting and gross that I don't even want to think about it, and that quickly veers it away from being interesting gumshoe mystery and into weird existential quandary. If the ending were a little less slovenly this film would probably be lauded for its intricate story and the great performance from Helena Bonham Carter as the drug dealer's (Caan) sister and the seductress of the dentist (Martin). Martin feels misplaced in the film, mostly because we're used to either subdued serious performances or out of control wackiness in comedies. It's just a little too all over the place to make it as memorable as it should be.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 09, 2014
    This movie didn't really do a lot for me as I found the execution of the concept to be more than lacking. The film tries to mix dark comedy with a noir story and it just doesn't work at all. The cast is more than fine, but their efforts aren't enough to save what is a poorly constructed film. And I really do mean that, it's like two different scripts haphazardly put together to make one film. I did like parts of the film, like Kevin Bacon's appearance as this egotistical actor who's researching a role and who's actually far more perceptive, or perhaps he's just better at guessing, than the cops who're investigating the murder case. It wasn't hilariously clever or anything of the sort, but it was something fun in a film that lacked any real sort of consistent entertainment. There's just this low-budget look and film that is only more noticeable when you see how bad the movie is. The History of Future Folk got away with it because it had a great script, cast and some incredible original songs. You focused on everything that was good about the film instead of the parts that were lacking. This movie, because it was so bad, it made the budget stand out like a sore thumb. There was potential here to make something decent. But the comedy and the noir aspects just never mixed well enough to make a coherent and consistently entertaining film.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer

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