Dentist [1932]

The passion of oral surgeons is the unlikely subject of The Secret Lives of Dentists, Alan Rudolph's keenly observed comedy-drama. Campbell Scott and Hope Davis, dentists both, have three kids and a pleasant life. Pleasant, but not exciting. When Scott realizes his wife is having an affair on the side, he's torn between caution and an outrageous inner voice urging drastic action. That voice is personified by Denis Leary, who pops up with unwelcome advice, like a nattering ghost; needless to say, the role is a perfect fit for Leary's hostile persona. The blend of everyday realities--especially a hilariously miserable five-day siege with stomach flu--and Leary's surreal presence makes for a typically offbeat Rudolph offering. The smart script, after a Jane Smiley story, is by Craig Lucas. Indie stalwarts Scott and Davis both do subtle work--they're as careful and scrupulous as the dentists they portray. --Robert Horton

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