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  Dentist on the Job
Year: 1961
Director: C.M. Pennington-Richards
Stars: Bob Monkhouse, Ronnie Stevens, Kenneth Connor, Shirley Eaton, Eric Barker, Richard Wattis, Charles Hawtrey
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 2 votes)
Review: A pair of recent dental graduates find themselves on the payroll of Proudfoot Industries, recruited to promote Dreem toothpaste. When they discover that this will result in them being struck off, they decide to create their own winning formula with the assistance of not so law abiding colleague Sam Field and glamour girl Jill Venner.

Continuing the misadventures of David Cookson and Brian Dexter, who were first brought to the screen in Dentist in the Chair, this sequel is an infrequently amusing and ultimately forgettable British comedy. Maybe this was intended as the second in a series of films starring the hapless dentist duo – the formula had been successful enough for the medical profession with Ralph Thomas’ Doctor films – but thankfully this was the last time they would grace our screens. Things begin well with a cameo from Charles Hawtrey as a much put upon shopkeeper whose shelves have been overrun with Dreem toothpaste and advertising promotions. But events take a rapid downward turn as the plot, such as it is, begins. There are a smattering of dentistry double entrendres but it’s never as funny as it should be.

The greatly missed Bob Monkhouse is rightly seen as one of the gods of British comedy, but alas acting is not his strongpoint. Maybe that’s overly harsh, but he doesn’t have the necessary qualities to carry a film, best suited to supporting roles. Similar criticisms could be levelled at his co-star Ronnie Stevens and as such the film has no real strong lead. It is therefore left to Kenneth Connor to provide the laughs. Thankfully he is a talented comic actor, especially gifted at physical comedy and provides most of the scant humour in Dentist on the Job.

The film's plot takes a rather bizarre turn roughly halfway through, involving the launch of an American satellite, and this gives Connor the chance to create a couple of comic characters. This is something he had a natural flair and inclination for, as anyone who has seen Watch Your Stern would agree. He’s not the only one to get the opportunity to dress up, as golden girl Shirley Eaton is around to provide the glamour and keep the male audience's interest from waning. She makes a welcome first appearance in a bubble bath with an obvious comic intrusion by Monkhouse. Eric Barker briefly reprises his role of The Dean, but is also on screen as Col Proudfoot, the tenuous explanation being that he is a cousin of The Dean. Other familiar faces include Richard Wattis, best known as the neighbour of Eric Sykes and Hattie Jacques, who is totally underused.

Dentist on the Job is not quite as bad as an actual visit to the dentist but it’s not far off. The film is pretty devoid of plot and for a comedy, the laughs are few and far between, one of the most amusing gags coming at the end of the film. The opening minutes of the movie can be found on the DVD release of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and watching the entire film isn’t recommended, even for the most fervent fan of early 60s British comedies.
Reviewer: Jason Cook

 

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