Dr. David Hurst shares a dental practice and quiet suburban life with his wife, Dana. Their well-established home life with their three daughters is thrown into an unexpected tumult when Dave begins to believe that he witnessed his wife in an intimate moment with another man. Feeling utterly defeated, Dave turns to Slater, one of his disgruntled patients for help in trying to regain grip on his sanity. However, Slater's lone wolf, freewheeling attitude results in advice Dave is not quite prepared to take.
When you hear that Campbell Scott is starring in Alan Rudolph's intensely appealing new domestic comedy, your first response may be, why not? With his furtive voice and fluttering diction, Mr. Scott nearly always sounds as if he's slipping information under an embassy door; the lines waft angrily around his mouth before disappearing and leaving a whispery trace. Dave Hurst, the dentist he plays, works hard to keep his messy domestic life in order while slaving away at a dental practice with his wife, Dana (Hope Davis), while murmuring about the existence he doesn't get to lead. Mr. Rudolph weaves a hilarious subtext — the spoiled baby-boomer who refuses to relinquish his time in the spotlight — into a home-life scenario. This notion of nurturing his inner infant keeps things ticking. Dave is suspicious of Dana, and slightly irritated at the three great daughters that he and Dane have raised. The movie depicts warring impulses that emerge in the scenes with Dave and his girls in a subtle, daffy way. — Elvis Mitchell
2003-08-01 | Elvis Mitchell | Read the New York Times Review of The Secret Lives of Dentists