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Monday, January 26, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 17.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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Teeth finds an unusual route to female empowerment
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Perhaps the worst date movie of all time, Teeth would have Sigmund Freud himself screaming in horror. The teeth in question are what Freud referred to as vagina dentata -- teeth "down there," a myth shared by the male half of many cultures. Freud saw the myth as an expression of man's castration anxiety. Writer-director Mitchell Lichtenstein has decided to see it as an expression of female empowerment.

Et voila: a comedy/horror movie in which the main protagonist, a saving-it-for-marriage virgin named Dawn (Jess Weixler), slices and dices her way to sexual maturity. Not since Carrie unleashed her hormones on the high school prom has a coming-of-age story left such icky pools of blood. And Carrie wasn't nearly so phallocentric.

When we first meet her, Dawn is lecturing a group of fellow students on the need to "keep your gift wrapped." She's rather sanctimonious, in a nondenominational kind of way, and perhaps a little hypocritical, given that she keeps finding herself in compromising positions.

But she also, unbeknownst to her, possesses the ultimate chastity belt. And the movie consists of several suitors entering her castle, only to have the gate slammed shut, like a guillotine.

Hey, just passing on information. Personally, I have no problem with a movie that castrates nearly every guy who wanders into the frame. But Lichtenstein doesn't have the, uh, chops, to pull off what he's going for -- a tongue-in-cheek exploitation flick that gets to slice its cake and have it too. The script can't think of anything to do but bring on another victim. And Lichtenstein can't seem to find a tone, so he slathers on a music track that could have come from one of those old mondo films, where the jungle drums were forever pounding.

I did like Weixler, a fresh-scrubbed blond in the Kate Winslet mode. She's so game that you wish Lichtenstein had given her something to do other than clench her teeth when a guy's around.

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