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Is 'Teeth' Due for a Cleaning?

February 7, 2008 By:
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A training film for mohels cutting their teeth in the business? "That's a possibility," muses Mitchell Lichtenstein.

But, no, "Teeth," which he wrote, directed and co-produced, is more molar than mohel, and definitely not what the doctor ordered.

The blackest of black comedies could give fans of "The Vagina Monologues" something to talk about between themselves. The heroine of this comic comeuppance has a condition in which private parts play a major mission, as boys discover in a John Wayne Bobbitt-bobbing-along kind of way.

The film, which cuts a huge swath among twentysomethings as fans, is playing at the Ritz at the Bourse. A different kind of picture than you'd expect from the son of legendary late artist Roy Lichtenstein, whose idea of graphic imagery was decidedly less gory?

Whamm! "But I was very influenced by his work," says his 51-year-old son, whose previous credits are as an actor on stage and in film, and who served as director/producer of "Resurrection" before reviving the vagina dentata myth as a movie.

"He was a great person with a great sense of humor, and, if nothing else, I was impacted by the audaciousness of his art, especially his work in the early '60s," he says of his pop and his pop art.

And if the son's "basic minimum Jewish upbringing -- sometimes, we would have seders at the holiday -- whoever found the matzah would get a chocolate Easter bunny" -- was of a more catholic nature, Judaism wasn't exactly an unknown.

But when it comes to black holes, the son has discovered film as another way to shed light on truths -- and fiction, such as the one dealt with onscreen, in which any young man thinking he can trick the heroine is dealing with a big mythtake.

Just who makes up this movies' audience?

"It's a great date movie," he says of the 2007 Sundance winner. Do young men take this morality tale as a tongue-lashing? "Some at Sundance saw it and went, 'Right on, right on.' "

With the hit he has on his hands, open wide is an appropriate reference to the future of "Teeth."

And the future of philanthropy: "With the profits of this film," says Lichtenstein, tongue in cheek, "I am going to endow a new school of gynecology and dentistry."


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