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Teeth (Mitchell Lichtenstein - 2008)

Much like Lars and the Real Girl, Teeth takes an utterly bizzare premise and does some pretty fantastic stuff with it. But unlike Lars and the Real Girl, it never manages to turn that premise into a fully formed, completely realized motion picture.

Still, this thing has stuck with me a lot longer than any film i've seen in a good long while. And for what it's worth, I think that I would like very much to meet Mitchell Lichtenstein, the writer/director of this strange little movie. His heroine, Dawn (a pitch-perfect Jess Weixler), is an annoyingly naive, abstinence-pushing teen with a pretty big problem. The problem is that unlike most girls her age, Dawn has an entire set of overzealous chompers in her vagina. Though, inexplicably, she doesn't realize this problem until her first ill-fated sexual encounter with a fellow abstinence pledgee (Hale Appleman). And while I don't want to give away some of Teeth's more interesting plot developments, I will tell you that Dawn's teeth taste blood more than a few times over the course of the movie.

There are, as you may imagine, many memorable moments throughout. Dawn's creepy step-brother's (Nip/Tuck's John Hensley) numerous attempts to claim her virginity are of particular note. And if the film stuck to that sort of camp horror sensibility, maybe it would have been something genuinely special. But Teeth never really decides what it wants to be. It's all over the place - ranging from quirky teen rom-com territory to an over-the-top gorefest. Is it about sexual empowerment? Is it a cautionary tale for prospective young lovers? Teeth tries to be a lot of things, but all those tonal shifts can get a little distracting. While it's hard to fault a film in this day in age for being too ambitious, that's definitely the case here.

Lichtenstein's unbridled enthusiasm notwithstanding, there is a lot to like about Teeth. The film's concept alone should at least make it worthy of a rental whenever it hits the shelves. And flawed as it may be, Teeth is easily one of the most unique, haunting and unabashedly strange film experiences I have ever had.

Swedish Rating:

I should warn you that if you see Teeth with a friend, get ready to spend the next few days entangled in a myriad of endlessly exhausting discussions about vagina dentata. Be prepared to answer completely unanswerable questions such as: Do you have to brush your vaginal teeth? or If your vagina has teeth, does it also have a tongue? And, if so, can your vagina talk? And, if so, what would your vagina's voice sound like?

And so on.