Frank Sangster (Steve Martin) is a successful dentist who's engaged to leggy blonde Jean (Laura Dern), who also happens to be the office hygienist. One day, Susan (Helena Bonham Carter), a punkish brunette, comes to his office complaining of a toothache and in need of a root canal. Prescribing drugs to ease her pain, Frank finds he has a sexual ache of his own. As Frank gets caught up in a whirlwind of sexual desire, Susan's hothead brother, Duane (Scott Caan), and Frank's own brother, Harlan (Elias Koteas), create carnage in his perfect life.
Steve Martin, who can be a peppy and inventive actor, is so subdued here that we don't really comprehend the depths of his discontent. Furthermore, given the choice between the boisterous Laura Dern and the dowager Helena Bonham Carter (who looks like she just walked off the set of "Fight Club"), there's no contest. One doesn't believe for a moment Frank's mounting desire for this delinquent patient.
Only Scott Caan as a loose cannon and Kevin Bacon, in a hilarious cameo as an actor studying police work for a part he's playing, give "Novocaine" any real kick or distinction. Starring Steve Martin, Laura Dern, Helena Bonham Carter, Elias Koteas and Scott Caan. Directed and written by David Atkins. Produced by Paul Mones and Daniel M. Rosenberg. An Artisan release. Comedy/Drama. Rated R for violence, sexuality, language and drug content. Running time: 100 min.