Parents' Guide to


By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

This dark, stylish tale isn't for kids.

Movie R 2001 95 minutes
Novocaine Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+

Good, but not as bad as the review makes it seem.

This movie is about cheating, leading double lives, and drugs. There is some violence, but the review puts a little too much emphasis on the amount of violence there is. There isn’t too much graphic violence, as well as the language not being as constant. Language includes a few uses of “f--k” and “s--t” at the worst, but not too many. However, there is a little more sex than the review lets on. However, there is a lot about drugs, with there being a character who is a drug dealer, as well as a character who takes drugs and smokes, and lots of talk of narcotics. There are two sex scenes, both of which the main character, who is a dentist, cheats on his fiancée, and he constantly gets himself into pickles out of which he constantly has to figure out. He then gets framed for the disappearance of the narcotics from the dentist office, as well as for murder, and has to find out who made him the scapegoat. The climax is the most intense part of the film, but helps give the culprit what they deserve. This is a film that is okay for people ages 16 and up. This movie may deal with heavy themes, but 18 and up is too high for this film.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (1):

This movie's shocking plot twists keep surprises coming until the very end. "Average man caught in a spiral of deceit" movies are really about the loss of control; in NOVOCAINE, Frank's world at first appears as exact and precisely regulated as his dental office. Although he tells us in a voiceover that everything is the way he wants it, we see hints almost immediately that he finds it sterile and unsatisfying. Even before he meets Susan, we see hints of his tolerance for – and interest in – a less controlled life. As we see Frank fall under Susan's spell, it appears that Frank feels suffocated by his success and is intrigued by those who chose another path.

This movie is a throwback to classics of the "film noir" genre, with a seductive but mysterious woman in distress drawing the law-abiding hero into a web of corruption. Instead of rain-soaked streets on moonless nights, though, this film is set in the white, sun-lit environment of a California dentist. Director David Atkins and stars Martin, Dern, Koteas, and Bonham Carter make good use of the contrast between the bright, sterile setting and the dark desires of the characters.

Movie Details

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