TIFF to get a shot of Novacaine

Jul 31, 2001 by Ian Evans

Steve Martin, who last donned dentist garb in Little Shop of Horrors, will join Helena Bonham Carter, Laura Dern, Scott Caan, and Elias Koteas in Novocaine, which will have its world premiere Gala presentation at the 26th Toronto International Film Festival.

Novocaine is the feature directorial debut of screenwriter David Atkins and follows the tribulations of a dentist (Martin) whose well-ordered life is turned upside down when a mysterious woman (Bonham Carter) becomes his patient. An edgy, unpredictable crime thriller, Novocaine stars Steve Martin as Dr. Frank Sangster, who is living the American Dream. Blessed with a thriving practice and a sleek modernist home, Frank is happily engaged to his ambitious dental hygienist, Jean Noble (Laura Dern). His perfectly managed life quickly unravels, however, when Susan Ivey (Helena Bonham Carter), a seductive new patient with an appetite for pain-killers, settles into his dentist chair. Before long, drugs are missing from his office, Susan’s psychotic brother Duane (Scott Caan) is stalking him, and Frank himself is wanted by both the DEA and the police for drug trafficking and murder. As he flees from authorities, Frank becomes increasingly drawn to Susan, and through her learns he is the victim of an elaborate con scheme, which may also involve his wayward brother, Harlan (Elias Koteas). Fueled by the desire to create a new life for himself and Susan, Frank attempts to prove his innocence, only to discover that breaking the law might provide his only hope for freedom.