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Secret Lives of Dentists, The

Reviewed By Greg Muskewitz
Posted 12/28/03 22:24:29

"Pulling teeth."
2 stars (Pretty Bad)

Was the secret life of Steve Martin’s dentist in Novocaine not enough? Alan Rudolph’s dramedy of a harried family man/dentist who suspects his wife, a fellow dentist, of infidelity, has not much to say on any secrets of the dentistry profession, unless that was the point.

But whatever the point was, it failed to come across as much more than dull. Campbell Scott, sporting a moustache that grants him a totally new personality, is quite good as the suspicious dentist, resulting from the eloquence he carries from role to role (equally as effective here as in Roger Dodger, but for completely different reasons), as well as having a good amount of space to work in. His character, much more so than Hope Davis’ wife counterpart, is a less judged and less biased character, but the potency is abrogated by Rudolph’s indulgent pretension of including Scott’s personified conscience in the form of an obstreperous patient (Denis Leary). The highly detracting gimmick explicates and acknowledges a side of one’s inner-workings that are best left undisplayed if they are going to be exposed so casually, so stick figure-like, and coupled with the tiresome fantasy sequences of Scott (imagining his wife in a threesome with her assistant and patient), he comes around to look rather loony. But considering the fluster of his daily family life (those scenes that are best played out, nicely using children to actually act like children and not precocious mouthpieces), that wouldn’t be such a far off concept.

[Not to be bothered with.]

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