Sometimes things are so campy that we can’t help but love them. Other times their just excessively so that we’re turned off by the attempt to be something more important than just what it is – a bad movie. And then there are those in between: a motley crew of elements, ideas, themes that most people probably get fooled into thinking they have a great, poignant film on their hands when all they have is a mess. We don’t hate them, we don’t love them. We watch them and when the credits roll we walk out the same as when we went in just two hours older.
A perfect example of this is Teeth, a horroredy from writer-director Mitchell Lichtenstein about the newest edition to Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” (click her to get real synopsis).
Look, I’m all for “different”, “quirky”, or whatever, but let’s just go down the list of bad things this movie has to offer:
1. Jess Weixler (Dawn), our heroine: She’s terrible in this movie. Is it supposed to be on purpose? I don’t know and I don’t care. She’s basically doing a terrible Delia Deetz impersonation the whole movie. Guess what Jess, you’re no Delia Deetz!
2. Every other actor: Shame on you all! I understand campy, but come on. Where did they find the guy who was supposed to be her initial love interest (Hale Appleman)? He looked like the Jonas brother they locked up in the basement for being too weird (yeah, because the other three are sooooooo normal).
3. Too much penis: Honestly, not really a problem because this is a movie about the power of women, women’s sexuality, etc. But the problem with the excessive count is that they’re never attached to a body! Someone call Trojan and tell them they need to make a chainmaille condom, stat!
4. Was there an unmentioned environmental theme to this movie? Are those Mr. Burns’ smoking power plant stacks in the background? Ok, I get it. I’ll turn off my lights!
5. Just too slow: We all know where this is going. Early on I kind of knew we’d end up with a vagina toothed, penis crunching vigilante by the end of our movie. So let’s move this pony along if we’re not going to do anything in the middle.
Seriously though, I laughed out-loud a few times during this movie although it was usually preceded by making sure my ol' "flux capacitors" were still there. I did enjoy the “power of women/sexuality” themes. I’m sure you can come across a lot of people who will love this movie - its comedic timing, its thesis and themes, and ability to present equal parts horror and comedy. But for me, this movie just fell short. It wasn’t that funny, and it was never too scary, just gory with its bad props (again, on purpose, but it just didn’t work for me). And as I stated earlier, there was just too much going on and the whole suffered.
And I’m not going to give it any leeway because of its trendiness/campiness; movies have to prove to me that I should be watching. The street doesn’t run the other way. The burden of proof lays with the filmmaker and his/her crew. I’m tired of cutting movies slack just so I can say “it’s good for that type of movie”. That’s BS! Good movies are good movies and if you’re asking for me to give you $15 at a theatre or two hours of my at home time then you better live up to your end of the deal.
In the end, Teeth didn’t make me want to recommend it to anyone. Instead it just left me wondering: what’s Dawn’s orthodontic bill look like? – 2 reels out of 5