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Teeth
DVD disk
05.12.2008 By: Mathew Plale
Teeth order
Director:
Mitchell Lichtenstein

Actors:
Jess Weixler
John Hensley
Hale Appleman

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A "pure" teenager (Weixler) deals with being a virgin and having a vagina with dentures in this 2007 Sundance Film Festival entry.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Let’s pretend for a moment that teeth don’t need to be brushed twice daily and that, presuming Dawn doesn’t empty a tube of Crest “down there,” a case of gingivitis of the vagina wouldn’t turn up. This half-shielded mentality will at least allow us to stand back and revel in the gross-out humor of a penis-dining Rottweiler.

Dawn (Jess Weixler, Sundance Special Jury Prize winner) is unique for her demographic: an enthusiastic and devoted leader of Promise, a Christian group for young teens, she’s taken that dreaded vow of chastity that haunts every loverboy’s prom night. She’s not afraid of sex, she just has a secret…since he kiddie-pool days, Dawn has harbored a case of vagina dentata, Latin for—what else—‘toothed vagina.’ What could cause this urban legend to become fact for Dawn? Has the backyard power plant that afflicted her mother with cancer played a role in her mutation? It’s never addressed, but by the end of the movie, we’ve grown used to the indecisiveness.

The taste for transcending genre that writer/director Mitchell Lichtenstein experiments with has us questioning not what category the movie falls into, but what Lichtenstein intended. Is Teeth horror? Dark comedy? Philosophical cautionary tale? Or the most unique superhero movie ever made? Ultimately, Teeth is a 90-minute one-joke show, trying either too little for frights or too hard for gags in a movie being marketed as horror.

Dawn and her snatchin’ snatch are hedged by stereotypical predators, from her deeply disturbed, anal sex-loving stepbrother Brad (John Hensley, TV’s Nip/Tuck) to her impure-minded boyfriend Tobey (Hale Appleman) to her bare-fisted gynecologist (Josh Pais). Is Lichtenstein saying that all men—to virgins, at least—are horny, cock-in-their-palm hunters? Not necessarily. Lichtenstein isn’t saying much, really, although some have given Teeth much more credit than it deserves, offering their own hoyty-toyty sexual analysis on what that piranha in Dawn’s one-piece represents (hint: nothing but the obvious).
THE EXTRAS
Feature Commentary by Writer/Director Mitchell Lichtenstein: Silence runs heavy here as the monotonous writer/director puts more thought into his movie than we ever should.

Behind-the-Scenes of Teeth (28:51): Interviews and on-set footage are the focal point of this featurette, with the cast and crew offering their insights on the script, its themes, characters, sexuality, and {ahem} effects. Fans will get a kick out of it, but it’s a bit long.

Deleted Scenes w/ optional Director Commentary (4:11): There are five here (none of which add much), listed under boring titles like ‘Dawn & Tobey watch Gwen & Phil dance,’ ‘Two couples walk through the mall noticing advertisements,’ and ‘Dr. Godfrey types in the hospital.’

Trailer and TV Spot.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Don't let the Sundance admission fool you, Teeth doesn't deserve the prestige the festival is often associated with. Good for a few gross-out laughs and female empowerment, Teeth would go better with a larger group than a sole recliner-set critic.
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