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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
  Subtitles
    English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
    Novocaine (Rental)
    20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 90 mins . MA15+ . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    There are a few things in life that I wish I could live without. Like spiders, I hate them. I want to squish those little bastards good. The way I see it, nothing good needs to be that small and have that many legs. Then there are mechanics. I mean, what the hell is a Pickabar Conversion Ring, why does my car need a new one and why does it cost so bloody much to replace? Then at the top of the list is... drumroll please... badda badda badda badda... DENTISTS!

    Yep, I really love the idea of someone sticking a needle in my gums, drilling for oil in my teeth, asking me questions when all I can answer is ďMmrphhmurph kurpherfufur unkurĒ and then charging me so much for the pleasure that he tells me about the new pool he bought with all the money Iíve made him.

    Donít get me wrong, itís not the dentist I hate, Iím sure theyíre actually nice people, itís the job I canít stand. Take the dentist in Novocaine, for example. This is a black comedy from Artisan Entertainment, starring the ever less wild and crazy guy Steve Martin, Laura Dern and the perpetually sick looking stick figure Helena Bonham Carter. Martin plays your average dentist with his own large practice, and he seems like a nice enough guy. He works hard, has a screwed up brother, a fiancť who works for him, and one day he shags a stranger in the dentist chair.

    Itís this last uncharacteristic peccadillo that sets off a chain of events which see him sucked into a swirling maelstrom of deception and murder that can only end in tears. Being a dentist, though, he probably deserves it. Acting against better judgment (as if shagging a junkie wasnít bad enough) he begins to tell a few small lies to cover his indiscretion. Regardless, things get worse, not better, and the mess unfolds in directions he couldnít have imagined.

    "There was that decay again, just like a cavity. The lies were deepening and the rot was spreading."

    Steve Martin plays his part dead straight which suits him, Laura Dern trots around doing her thing whatever it is, Scott Cann does nothing to change opinion about his capabilities and Kevin Bacon makes an appearance that seems eerily like playing himself, as does Helena Bonham Carter, who looks like she lived the life of her part for a few months before filming began.

    Thatís all Iím going to tell you about the film, because by revealing any more Iíd risk ruining things for you. Itís quite good, perhaps falling short of what was possible with a bit more care, but none the less entertaining and well worth a rent.

      Video
      Audio
      Extras
    Contract

    A good looking picture, which settles itself with a natural look. Colours are subdued, verging on dull at times, but it suits the style, and some good contrasts between tones works well in the darker scenes. Itís also a grainy picture, and combined with the compression it leaves the finer detail in backgrounds sometimes wanting. This effect is visible on the patterned wallpaper in Martin's office, and a few other spots throughout, such as Carter's fishnet stockings, which aren't resolved well at all.

    Audio is an average Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, but at the same time has nothing to complain about. It's mostly front heavy, and dialogue intensive, so there's not much opportunity for a display of audio whizz-bangery. Still, the surrounds stretch their legs every now and then in limited support and the dialogue is fine, so it's hunkydory with me.

    Being a rental, you can wipe that surprised and disappointed look off your face when you see that this DVD is extras-free. The future release should have a swag of them, if the cover slick I have is any indication, so you'll just have to make do with only the film for now.


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  •   And I quote...
    ""Dentist", "rental", and "comedy" are three words you don't normally see in the one sentence..."
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB1070
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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