I once read a beautiful short story by Lynda Sexson where a female character, who can produce pearls through her skin, touches herself between her legs and feels pearls growing there. Like teeth, she thinks. When I first saw the trailer for Teeth, this was the image I was reminded of.
High hopes, high hopes. The Sexson story works because its tone is consistent; Teeth, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do and so degenerates into a seedy, at times tastelessly funny, B-movie. Coming-of-age plot, young virgin scared of and then finding power, and even joy, in her sexuality – but then it suddenly becomes American Pie. What the hell. It could have been a serious commentary on rape (Wouldn’t it be nice for women to only accept into their body the person they want, and to have the weapon to bite off those who force themselves on them), a satire, a cautionary tale of sorts. There is a scene about mutations – can it be that after decades of suffering from sexual violence, a female is born with a body part (the example used is the rattle on the rattlesnake) she can use to her advantage?
This could have been a better film. More grit, more darkness, remove the comedy and that stupid sequence where she Googles vagina dentata, and maybe throw in, um, I don’t know, a plot? For urgency? And it could have worked.
(Photo from the NYTimes.com)