Friday, May 9, 2008

Sink Your Teeth Into This...

Posted By on Fri, May 9, 2008 at 3:13 AM

Mayor Nagin began his comments at the news conference by saying, “How am I gonna stand up and say, I’m a ‘vagina-friendly’ Mayor to these cameras after ‘Chocolate City’ and some of the other stuff that I’ve done. But you know what? I’m in.” In context, Nagin’s comments are welcoming the tenth anniversary of playwright Eve Ensler’s empowering tale, The Vagina Monologues. After watching the directorial debut of Mitchell Lichtenstein, Teeth, which was the prized independent film at the Sundance Film Festival of 2007, one wonders if Nagin knows of the consequences of crossing the V. Teeth had its’ theatrical release in 2007 and has been released on DVD this week.

Teeth is the story of a teen girl who discovers that her body is not like it is supposed to be. In fact, although she is already the main crusader for a chastity group among her peers, her sexual organ literally protects her from unwanted sex. You see, Dawn (played by the very Uma Thurman-like Jess Weixler) discovers that her vagina has Teeth or as mythology has described it—vagina dentata. Lichtenstein walks the fine line between black comedy and horror without discouraging the honesty of such a bizarre storyline. Jess Weixler plays Dawn with such a believable naïveté, that the audience really wants to stand up and cheer that she has the power to change what has been set for so many young woman before her. A boyfriend who forces himself upon her, a step-brother who is really an all around creep, a lecherous gynecologist and a school friend who bets on taking her virginity, all discover the consequences of crossing Dawn’s “special gift.”

There have been other film fables representing how teens feel like they are all alone when their bodies start changing. And, of course, there have been many films representing budding sexuality. Teeth, however, does an amazing job of merging these representations into a fable that has been deemed by Kurt Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter as “The most alarming cautionary tale for men since Fatal Attraction.” Teeth is not for the faint. The horror portion of the film is definitely in the graphic slasher-like moments which are shown up close and personal. Everybody is talking about full frontal male nudity in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but at least in that movie the ‘full frontal’ is attached. Yet, do not let this prevent you from seeing this clever film of a virginal girl's protection of her budding sexuality. Teeth is not a film to be missed. The story is so original, unlike many of the stories coming out of Hollywood. I look forward to seeing the next venture of director Lichtenstein. One thing is for sure--Nagin may not feel so comfortable as the “vagina-friendly” mayor after viewing.

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