Eversmile, New Jersey (1989)    0 Stars


Eversmile, New Jersey (1989)
Eversmile, New Jersey (1989)


Director: Carlos Sorin

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Mirjana Jokovic, Gabriela Acher

Synopsis: A travelling dentist spreads the gospel regarding oral hygiene in the arid plains of Patagonia.







It would be interesting to know what it was about Carlos Sorin’s 1989 Argentina/UK co-production, Eversmile, New Jersey, that appealed to Daniel Day-Lewis.   His previous role, that of Christy Brown in My Left Foot, had elevated his already promising career to new heights and he must surely have been receiving offers to play all manner of juicy roles when he took on the part of a committed travelling dentist delivering the message of oral hygiene with near-religious zeal to the inhabitants of the arid plains of Patagonia.   No doubt Sorin and his backers were thrilled to have Day-Lewis on board, and the (possibly apocryphal) story goes that they even changed the nationality of his character to accommodate for the fact that he was still talking with an Irish accent following his part as the Dublin-born Brown.   Sadly, not even an actor with the proven ability of Day-Lewis was able to save this curiosity from quickly descending into obscurity.

Fergus O’Connell is employed by the Dubois Dental Consciousness Foundation of Eversmile, New Jersey to spread the word about the dangers of poor oral hygiene to the inhabitants of the remote, impoverished regions of Patagonia, a task which he tackles with enthusiasm and fervour.   Preaching to bemused villagers about the dangers of bacteria and cavities, the sidecar of his motorbike serves as the dental chair in which his patients sit as he administers to their needs.   On his travels, he encounters Estela (Mirjana Jokovic), the sexy daughter of the garage owner at which he repairs his motorbike after coming off the road, who stows away on his bike so that she can join him on his odyssey.

As far as Eversmile, New Jersey’s plot goes, that’s about it.   The parallels between the travels of Fergus and those of Jesus are inescapable, but there also seems to be elements of Don Quixote and Homer’s The Odyssey thrown into the mix, all of which makes for a bizarre concoction which never really manages to captivate its audience in the way that it’s clearly trying to do.   Day-Lewis is the best thing about it by a mile, and brings his usual level of commitment to the kind of dominant and expansive role which any actor might find difficult to resist.

(Reviewed 21st January 2016)

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