Secret Lives of Dentists


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The filmmakers used too much laughing gas, but didn't deliver enough laughs to the audience. 



The Secret Lives of Dentists
The Masked Reviewer

Ever wonder about the secret lives of dentists?  Well, wonder no more!  It's dull!  That's not to say the film is dull, though, but the portrayal of the lives of the two principal characters (who are both dentists) is certainly less interesting than root canal. 

This film stars Campbell Scott (The Spanish Prisoner) and Hope Davis (the daughter in About Schmidt, and the French airline agent in Home Alone) as two married dentists.  They're married (to each other) and they practice dentistry.  They have kids. 

Denis Leary is also in the film.  He is not a dentist.  He does, however, have bad teeth.  His role is difficult to describe without getting into too many of the details, and we wouldn't want to destroy the "secret" of these dentists, now would we?  Oh, but then you might read this paragraph and be inadvertently intrigued by the film.  "Ooh, the Masked Reviewer made a subtle hint about Denis Leary's role in the big secret of the film...he's not a he?  Who knows?  Now I've GOT to see this movie!" you may say to yourself.  But don't. 

The Secret Lives of Dentists is an odd movie.  The film revolves around the ordinary lives of dentists, which is not particularly interesting.  Raising kids, going to the summer home, going to work, talking, doing dishes.  Surprisingly, the every day stuff is more compelling at many times than the "secret" stuff.  The secret stuff has a lot of wacky elements with dreams and imaginary friends and...well...secrets.

At times, the film tries to be funny.  At other times, it tries to be serious.  It's never clear whether this film is a comedy or a drama.  The comedy is never really funny and the drama is never really dramatic.  A lot of the clever plot devices used in the film aren't very well thought out, and feel tacked on.  The viewer can't help but wonder what's going on, but more importantly, the viewer can't be made to care about what's going on.  The characters aren't very engaging or particularly likeable.  They're not dislikeable enough for you to hate them, they're just sort of there.  It's almost more like a weird reality show.

Things move slowly in the film, and it drags.  The 105 minute running time feels long enough that your teeth begin to rot, even without Milk Duds (tm). 

On the other hand, if you like to see people puke, this film has lots of it.  It's not going to win any special achievement Oscar(tm) for innovative puke delivery, and it's not the most realistic depiction of puke, and it's not the chunkiest puke, but there is plenty of it for you puke lovers.  Almost every character has a chance to puke, barf, yak, hurl, or blow chunks.  Even the young cast members get to toss their cookies into the ring.  If you're a serious fan of bodily functions, there's also a shot of someone peeing and someone else sitting on the toilet.  And, there's blood and some gory toothy bits.   No nudity, however. 

The Masked Reviewer should point out that his remarks on the profundity of puke is not necessarily a bad thing.  Take for example the vomit scene in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.  Truly inspiring.  But even gallons of regurgitation couldn't make this film more interesting.

Denis Leary does have a few good lines, but nothing memorable.  What's the deal with his name, anyway?  Why only one 'n'?  Dennis Franz, Dennis Hopper, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Miller...all have two n's.   He must be one of those fancy Hollywood types that wants to stand out from the crowd.  Or, perhaps he sold the other n to the devil for cigarettes and booze.  Hopefully he didn't make his deal with the devil to get the part in The Secret Lives of Dentists.

All around, the acting was good.  Of special note are the three young girls who were very convincing in their roles as little girls.

The filmmakers used too much laughing gas, but didn't deliver enough laughs to the audience. 


Expectation from the Title: Late at night, after the drills have stopped and the rinse-sinks have been turned off, Dr. Goldman slips into his giant chicken suit and pulls on the fishnets and satin bra.  They laughed when he told them there was a niche market for giant transsexual chicken porn...and now, he'd show the world.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  This film should remind us all to brush after every meal, and good dental health is always a good thing.

The Pros: The dentist's drill sound always makes people squirm, a couple of good lines by Leary, the acting was very solid by everyone including the kids.

The Cons: Dull. Long.  Not sure if it's a comedy or a drama, but it's not a good one of either.


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