You can often sell a movie with a shocking or unique approach to an ... unseemly topic, but it takes a good deal of talent to take an outrageous idea and turn it into a effective, entertaining and weirdly powerful experience. Case in point: I just finished seeing a movie called Teeth, which centers on a pretty teenage girl whose vagina has teeth. Yes, you read that right: The old "vagina dentata" myth that's been propagated across dozens of cultures for thousands of years -- most likely because, deep down, men are pretty much terrified of women. (Or at least certain parts of 'em) One might expect a movie with this concept to be broad, stupid, campy "Troma" material all the way. But in the hands of writer/director Mitchell Lichtenstein and a stellar cast, Teeth (against all odds) ends up being one of the most witty, intelligent and darkly insightful looks at young womanhood since Lucky McKee's brilliant May. (And how strange and admirable is it that both of these movies comes from male writer/directors?)
If you get over the rather distasteful subject matter and focus on what's beneath the surface, you'll find a flick that's got a whole lot to say about young women and their fear of burgeoning sexuality, society's general distaste (and, let's face it, fear) of the female sex organ, and the ways in which men do a serious disservice to womankind by treating their "naughty bits" as if they're something to be ashamed of. Teeth covers all this ground (and a whole lot more), and I suspect it's more open-minded and honest than most of what passes for "sex ed" these days. This movie offers enough meaty subtext to fill three semesters and it does so in a shocking, humorous and strangely compassionate fashion.