Monday, June 6, 2011

FI: Teeth

US, 2007
Directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein

What can one say about a movie like Teeth? Very well, I'll get the obvious out of the way first: its main character, Dawn (Jess Weixler), has a toothed vagina that she slowly learns to control in order to defend herself from various sexual assaults throughout the movie. Yeah. It's like that.

Examining themes like hypocritical religious morality and the stigmatization of female sexuality, Teeth is playfully over-the-top with its interpretation of the vagina dentata myth. It is unapologetically a B-movie, and it's more than happy to use these B-elements in both scary and funny ways. If you go in expecting a deep, perceptive look at rape culture, you might be disappointed (not to mention crazy for expecting that out of a movie like this). But if you go in expecting the sort of movie where an angry, toothed vagina bites off a few penises, well, this one won't disappoint.

Though most of the characterizations verge on caricature, Weixler does well playing Dawn's naivety and shame, and handles the range of (often) extreme emotions her character feels with aplomb. Something about her fragility and her growing sense of self-reliance reminds me of Angela Bettis's performance in the title role in May. Teeth isn't the same kind of movie, being far funnier and nowhere near as deep, but it's admirable in a fun, watch-it-with-friends kind of way.

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