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Movie Review: The Secret Lives of Dentists

Story: Now open wide - and read! (Warning - this review might have one too many references to teeth - I just can't help myself.)Sharing a practice, dentist couple David and Dana Hurst, seem to have injected Novocain into their somewhat lifeless marriage. Based on Jane Smiley's novella The Age of Grief, director Alan Rudolph (with screeplay by Craig Lucas) allows these very talented actors to seem at times -- undirected (which is a good thing). Their world is ordered, normal and revolves around the lives of their three young daughters, their practice and the general grinding chores that everyday life demands. Pretty ho-hum stuff until one day David suspects that his wife is having an affair. How he copes with the possibility of this decaying situation is the core of the film. Through fantasy, paranoia and suspicion we witness the potential for both an implosion and explosion.

This film has some tooth and will also give you several moments to show your pearly whites as you smile along with this family. If you are on the fence about whether you should start a family, this film is probably not for you.

Acting: Terrific performances by Campbell Scott and Hope Davis as the Hursts. Dennis Leary as David's alter ego is also fun to watch. The three little girls are wonderfully natural actors.

Predilection: None.

Critters: None.

Food: Lots and lots of family meals.

Visual Art: Wonderful detail is displayed throughout.

Blatant Product Placement: My favorite New York TV station, NY1.

Soundtrack: Dana Hurst is in a small operatic company so we are treated to some wonderful music by Verdi as they perform the opera, Nabucco.

Opening Titles: Can't remember.

Theater Audience: There were more people in my dentist's waiting room on my last visit than were in the theater.

Squirm Scale: The family endures five days of the flu as it works its way through each family member. There is lots of vomit. The scenes in the dentist's office might make you squirm as well.

Predictability Level: Moderate.

Oscar Worthy: No.

Nit Picking: It needed to be edited. I was drifting. There was also too much dependence on the narrator (ugh).

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. I checked out how many other films had the word secret in the title and was amazed to find there were over 100. Here are two good ones for you to rent: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and the wonderful, Secrets and Lies.

Length: Under two hours and less painful than root canal.