Novocaine

I wanted to like this--I like Steve Martin and I like Helena Bonham Carter... and for the record, I disagree completely with the critics who say that they were miscast in this film. "Novocaine" is well-acted and well-made--but it simply fails to work. This noir throwback should have left such matters to the Coen Brothers and "The Man Who Wasn't There," because it's simply impossible to get behind the man who does the wrong thing--the stupid thing--over and over again, all the time completely aware that he's doing the wrong thing--the stupid thing.

Yes, there's an intricate 40's type plot to follow here, but it all depends on the blind assurance that the protagonist will make all the wrong moves--that he'll blindly blunder into a trap that's so obvious you'll want to pull your OWN teeth out in frustration.

No offense to a fine cast--and extra points for a wonderfully surreal moment involving a surprise celebrity cameo (spoiler below). Trouble is, they re-introduce the character as a plot convenience later on, spoiling the effect. Ultimately, "Novocaine" ranks as a sad disappointment.


SPOILER

SPOILER

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During a police interrogation, Kevin Bacon shows up with the cops--he's playing an actor who's looking to develop a "cop" character he's about to play in a movie... and the real detective (Keith David from "The Thing") allows the ACTOR to question the suspect for experience!! This is one fantastic scene that belongs in a better movie.

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