New on DVD: 'Teeth'

From Stacie Hougland: Cult movie fans will want to snap up the sharp little horror film Teeth, which serves up an ancient myth about female sexuality and male fears in the form of a darkly campy black comedy.

"People are squirmy about the V-word," says the film's costume designer on the commentary, and few movies could incite the squirm as much as this one. Jess Weixler makes an extraordinary debut (one that, I might say, rivals Ellen Page's in a far less--well, family-friendly--role) as Dawn, a high school girl determined to hang on to her virginity until marriage. Dawn's the kind who wears unicorn sweatshirts to school and crayons wedding dresses in her notebook, and enjoys leading abstinence discussions at her Promise Ring group meetings. With a dimpled, wide-blue-eyed innocence, she suffers her predatory lunkhead stepbrother (Nip/Tuck's John Hensley) and copes with her mother's cancer, presumably caused by the nuclear energy plant nearby that we surmise is also behind the root of all Dawn's problems--a phenomenon called vagina dentata. Dawn's always known she was different, but doesn't find out exactly how different until she meets Tobey (Hale Appleman), the first guy to awaken feelings she's never had before to disastrous results.

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The kind of brotherly love you don't want.

One can only imagine the results of this subject matter in the wrong hands, but writer/director Mitchell Lichtenstein's film brilliantly walks a line of straight comedy that never wavers for the sake of mugging actors, tossed-off one-liners or potty jokes, and his cast takes the ridiculous plot so seriously Teeth comes off almost like a 1970s after-school special warning against sleeping around. As a satire about men's and women's fears about sex and female empowerment, it's almost perfect. As a horror movie, it's cover-your-eyes gory. My only beef with the film would be some aspects of its final act.

Extras: Director commentary, five deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurette.

Overview: Teeth is a cleverly told, well-acted tongue-in-cheek horror comedy about "doing it" that goes way beyond anything in American Pie.

Also on DVD This Week:

P.S. I Love You - Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler
First Sunday - Ice Cube, Katt Williams
Over Her Dead Body - Eva Longoria, Paul Rudd
Bella - Eduardo Verástegui, Tammy Blanchard

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