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"NOVOCAINE"
(2001) (Steve Martin, Helena Bonham Carter) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Heavy Extreme Moderate Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Extreme Minor Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Mild Minor Moderate Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Black Comedy: A dentist finds his life unraveling when he's framed for murder after falling for a drug addict posing as a patient.
PLOT:
Frank Sangster (STEVE MARTIN) is a man who seems to have it all. Not only does he have a thriving dental practice, but he's also engaged to his beautiful assistant, Jean Noble (LAURA DERN). Things begin to change, however, when his deadbeat brother, Harlan (ELIAS KOTEAS), shows up, much to Jean's displeasure. It gets worse when Frank finds himself drawn into an affair with Susan Ivey (HELENA BONHAM CARTER), a drug addict who poses as a patient so that she can get to professional grade narcotics.

If that's not bad enough, Susan's lowlife thug of a brother, Duane (SCOTT CAAN), starts making trouble for Frank. Thus, when someone ends up dead in Frank's home, the dentist finds his life turned upside down. Not only are detectives Larry Lunt (KEITH DAVID) and Lily Pons (KAROL KENT) viewing him as a likely suspect - while the former allows a big name actor, Lance Phelps (KEVIN BACON), to research playing a detective by questioning Frank - but he also finds his lies to Jean and others progressively getting worse.

As the evidence eventually points to Frank as the suspect, he does what he must to figure out who's really responsible, all while trying to sort out his feelings toward both Jean and Susan.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast or are teens interested in a black comedy, it's probably not very likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For violence, sexuality, language and drug content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • To avoid giving away late in the game character revelations, some characteristics/behavior are not listed in the following descriptions.
  • STEVE MARTIN plays a dentist who has an affair with one of his patients despite knowing she's an addict and him being engaged to Jean. He also uses some strong profanity as he tries to clear his name of murder.
  • HELENA BONHAM CARTER plays a drug addict who steals pharmaceuticals from Frank and seduces/sleeps with him. She also uses strong profanity.
  • LAURA DERN plays Frank's fiancé and dental assistant who also uses strong profanity and is upset to learn about his infidelity.
  • ELIAS KOTEAS plays Frank's loser brother who uses strong profanity.
  • SCOTT CAAN plays Susan's thug-like brother who has incestuous longing for her, uses strong profanity, and beats up or threatens to beat up others.
  • KEITH DAVID plays a cop who investigates a murder case and allows an actor researching a role to work on it.
  • KEVIN BACON plays an actor following Lunt around to see how to play a detective.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this R-rated black comedy. Profanity is listed as extreme due to the use of at least 32 "f" words, while various other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some dialogue is sexually related (with some of it being explicit), while several sexual encounters are seen (that include movement, sounds and some nudity). Another couple is seen making out, while there are some implications about incest between adult siblings.

    Some of that material involves an affair between a betrothed man and a woman who seduces him for other reasons, and they and others - including murderers and thugs -- have varying degrees of bad attitudes. Violence includes several murders (one off screen and another partially off screen), other fighting and some bloody results. Some of those scenes and others - including a bloody, full dental extraction -- may also be suspenseful and/or unsettling to some viewers.

    Meanwhile a character is a drug addict who steals professional grade narcotics, another snorts cocaine, and various characters drink and smoke. Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, we suggest that you more closely examine our detailed listings for further information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, some strobe effects occur during a sex scene.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Susan is an addict who persuades Frank to prescribe some Demoral to her for her bad tooth, but then changes the number on it to get more pills from the pharmacist.
  • Some people in a bar drink, including Frank and Harlan who order and drink shots and beer.
  • Susan shows up at Frank's office with liquor and the two then drink.
  • We hear, but don't see that a kid who drove off a cliff had a bottle of cocaine-based pharmaceuticals stolen from Frank's office.
  • We see a lot of liquor in a liquor store.
  • Duane snorts some cocaine.
  • Various people drink in a bar where Frank has a shot of bourbon and then orders more.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • A man's head is bloody after being beaten up.
  • Susan has a little bit of blood from her nose.
  • Duane's hand is bloody as we see a pair of scissors sticking through it.
  • Frank has some blood on his shirt.
  • We see blood on a wall and floor, and then see a dead body on the floor.
  • We see some bloody scrapes on Frank's face.
  • Frank slips on some blood and then finds a very bloody murder victim (with blood on the walls, chair, etc.).
  • A character pulls out his own teeth with dental tools (with bloody results) after pulling the same out of a dead man's mouth (that's also bloody).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Knowing that Susan is an addict who's scamming him for a prescription of Demoral, Frank goes ahead and writes one for her anyway. He also eventually has an affair with her despite being engaged to Jean and lies to her about that and other issues.
  • Susan takes advantage of Frank for drugs.
  • Duane beats up a man in a bar and then repeatedly threatens Frank.
  • We discover that a few other people are conspiring against Frank.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • Frank comes home at night and finds the door open and what looks like blood on the window, but after slowly looking around and checking it out, he realizes it's red paint.
  • We hear sounds of violence in Frank's office and then see Duane there making trouble, with Jean preparing to fight him via her martial arts training.
  • Duane rushes Frank who's holding a pair of scissors to defend himself. During the brief scuffle, the scissors end up going through Duane's hand. Duane then grabs Frank by the neck, but Frank then twists the scissors in his hand, causing Duane a great deal of pain.
  • Frank comes home at night, finds that the power is out, and then slips on the floor. He then finds blood everywhere and a dead body on the floor.
  • Frank hides in the ceiling/attic as the police come looking for him.
  • Frank and Susan hide in a person's closet when that person comes home.
  • A character pulls out his own teeth with dental tools (with bloody results) after pulling the same out of a dead man's mouth (that's also bloody).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Shotgun: Used to kill several people (one off camera, one partially off camera).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Get the f*ck out," "That's f*cking great," "It's f*cking hilarious," "Shut the f*ck up," "You f*cking homo," "What the f*ck are you looking at?" "You dumb f*ck," "You f*cking asshole," "I'll f*cking kill you," "You're f*cking A right," "I'm f*cking tired," "You're a f*cking idiot," "This is f*cking bullsh*t," "Tell me what the f*ck you know," "Holy sh*t," "Bullsh*t," "Oh, sh*t," "You're sh*t out of luck," "Sh*thole," "Piece of sh*t," "Sh*tbox," "What the hell /is the matter with you/is going on?" "Screwed up," "Loser," "Jerk," "You look like hell," "Shut up," "Piss me off," "You bastard," "You idiot," "Piece of crap," "Where the hell are you?" "Jeez" and "We both got screwed" (nonsexual).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • An old song plays that has the lyrics, "I want to make it with you" (that may or may not be sexual in context).
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 32 "f" words (2 used sexually as is the term "screwing," 1 used with "mother"), 17 "s" words, 3 slang terms for male genitals ("little man"), 5 asses (4 used with "hole"), 5 hells, 3 damns, 2 craps, 5 uses of "Christ," 4 of "G-damn," 3 each of "Jesus Christ" and "Oh my God," 2 of "Swear to God" and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes," "God," "Oh God" and "Good God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see a brief shot of Jean on top of Frank in bed, but don't see anything explicit (no movement, sounds or nudity).
  • Susan wears a low-cut top that shows some cleavage.
  • Jean tells Frank that they've talked about the dentist chair and that she's not there to fulfill his secret fantasies (about having sex in the chair). She then playfully says, "But, tonight… if you're good in bed..."
  • We see Harlan wearing small briefs.
  • Jean shows some cleavage.
  • Alone in the office late at night, Susan starts to come on to Frank, asking if he dates any of his patients and "Do you ever do it" (have sex) in the dentist chair. She then seductively kisses him and we then see him on top of her in the chair, pulling off her panties as we see her bare belly. We then see her pleasured reaction and then see her on top of him with movement, sounds and pleasured reactions (as the chair is moved around in different positions). We then hear her have an orgasm. The next day, he notices Susan's panties are hanging on a chair and moves quickly to grab and hide them (and they show up again in two more scenes).
  • Harlan asks Frank if he's sleeping around on his pretty little fiancé.
  • There's some obvious sexual tension between Susan and Duane (he pushes her back against a wall to kiss her), but she then says that they're not "doing this" anymore since he's her brother.
  • We see Jean having sex on top of Frank as he lies in bed (he's shirtless, she's wearing a robe, and we see movement and hear sexual sounds). He then imagines having sex with Susan and we see him on top of her and vice-versa (in the middle of some strobe-like effects). During this, we see movement and her bare breasts, and then hear Jean exclaim, "Oh, perfect."
  • Duane asks Frank about Susan, "What did she do, blow you? F*ck you a couple of times? That's what she does to get drugs."
  • After Lunt tells Lance to ask Frank some questions, the actor asks, "Are you screwing her? Are you having sex with her?"
  • As Frank tries to sneak out of a motel, he spots a man and woman (a larger couple with the man shirtless and the woman in her bra) making out while standing. Frank quietly walks past them as the man tells her, "I love your ass," she tells him to pinch it, and we hear the soundtrack of a porno program playing in the background with moaning and rhythmic sounds.
  • After Frank tells Susan that they have "a thing," she says, "We don't have a thing. We f*cked. There's a difference."
  • Playing around with Frank's small dental camera, Harlan places it down inside the front of his pants (and we see some pubic hair as he comments on the "little man" on TV).
  • We see a flashback of a couple making out in the backseat of a car and the woman telling the man to slow down. Later, that woman tells the man to go lie down and she'll take care of the "little man."
  • SMOKING
  • Susan smokes a few times, as do some miscellaneous characters.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • A woman briefly reacts to her brother's death.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Lies and how they usually get progressively worse.
  • There's some obvious sexual tension between Susan and Duane, but she then says that they're not "doing this" anymore since he's her brother.
  • Those who abuse professional grade narcotics.
  • Cheating on loved ones and being seduced by others.
  • Dentistry.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A bouncer forcibly removes Duane from a bar, but the latter head-butts the former and then proceeds to hit the bouncer on the head with a bottle. He then repeatedly slams the man's head onto the floor, resulting in the head being rather bloody.
  • Duane pushes Susan back against a wall to kiss her, and then bangs his head against a door in frustration.
  • We hear sounds of violence in Frank's office and then see Duane making trouble, with Jean preparing to fight him via her martial arts training (but that never happens).
  • Duane rushes Frank who's holding a pair of scissors to defend himself. During the brief scuffle, the scissors end up going through Duane's hand. Duane then grabs Frank by the neck, but Frank then twists the scissors in his hand, causing Duane a great deal of pain.
  • We see blood on a wall and see a dead body on the floor (and hear that the person was killed by a shotgun blast to the head).
  • After catching Frank looking into Susan's motel room, a large man grabs him and pins his arm behind his back (but then lets go for a bribe).
  • Frank falls off a roof and lands on the hood of a car.
  • In a flashback, we hear the sound of a shotgun being fired to kill someone (but don't see the shooting).
  • A person shoots another person with a shotgun (partially off camera) and there's a lot of blood seen afterwards.
  • A character pulls out his own teeth with dental tools (with bloody results) after pulling the same out of a dead man's mouth (that's also bloody).
  • A person causes an explosion that blows up part of a building and burns down the rest.



  • Reviewed October 26, 2001 / Posted November 16, 2001

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