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(Review originally written at 25 July 2007)

I think a lot of people don't mind seeing Steve Martin again playing a dentist after his role in the 1986 version of "Little Shop of Horrors", although of course his role in this movie is quite different.

"Novocaine" is a movie that is using all of the classic film-noir ingredients but above all the movie is a comedy. A black-comedy but a comedy nevertheless. And it's a rather well made and written one. The movie has some nice twists but never forgets to also entertain.

Steve Martin shows why he is still a much asked actor for comedies, even though his best roles are long since behind him, he still knows how to handle the genre and time things in his performances, without ever going over-the-top with anything. Helena Bonham Carter is a great femme fatale for this movie and Laura Dern also plays a surprising role. The movie also has solid supporting actors in it such as Lynne Thigpen, Elias Koteas, Keith David and Scott Caan. The older Scott Caan gets, the more he starts to look like his father, also acting-wise. Kevin Bacon also makes a totally fun cameo as an actor who is doing research for a cop role.

The great and typically wacky musical main titles for the movie were composed by Danny Elfman, which set the tone for the movie really. Most of the rest of the score was composed by Steve Bartek, who normally works as Danny Elfman's orchestrator.

The story is enough to draw you into the movie. It has some unexpected twists, although these all occur toward the end. The movie perhaps does become a tad bit too serious at times, which doesn't completely suit the movie and its atmosphere. Thankfully the movie is mostly just fun. It's good quality entertainment to watch and better than your average film-noir/comedy crossover attempt, which is mainly thanks to the great cast of the movie and the solid written story.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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