Tooth Fairy Doesn't Offer Much to Smile About
- Christa Banister Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2010 1 Jan
DVD Release Date: May 4, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: January 22, 2010
Rating: PG (mild language, some rude humor and sports action)
Run Time: 101 min.
Director: Michael Lembeck
Actors: Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Judd, Seth MacFarlane, Billy Crystal, Julie Andrews, Stephen Merchant, Ryan Sheckler, Chase Ellison, Destiny Whitlock, Dan Joffre, Ellie Harvie, Barclay Hope
If you think the sight of a beefy bruiser like The Rock (a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson) in a pink tutu and oversized sparkly wings is funny, well, Tooth Fairy is definitely the movie for you. After all, the screenwriters get a lot of mileage out of seeing the former wrestler play a has-been hockey star forced to reveal his softer, fairy side.
Nicknamed "the tooth fairy" because of how hard he hits his opponents, (yeah, as you probably guessed, plenty of them lose their precious chompers in the process), Derek Thompson (Johnson) is a former NHL star who's been relegated to the minor leagues because of a bum shoulder and actually hasn't scored a goal in years.
Truth be told, he's not really scoring many points on the homefront either. Not only does his girlfriend's (Ashley Judd in a thankless role) teenage son Randy (Chase Ellison) barely tolerate his presence, but he's selfish enough to swipe the lost-tooth dollar from underneath Randy's younger sister Tess's pillow when he runs out of cash for poker.
But the piece de resistance of bad behavior comes the next morning when Derek callously informs little Tess (an adorable Destiny Whitlock) that there's no such thing as the tooth fairy because it's time to grow up and not believe in childish fantasy.
Needless to say, Carley promptly shows him the door.
And since it's not exactly the first time Derek has been a squelcher of dreams (he routinely tells kids they must lower their expectations, that's how you'll be happy—coincidentally, some sage advice for anyone considering seeing this movie), Derek has been summoned to Fairyland where he's sentenced to two weeks of playing the real tooth fairy for committing "first degree murder of fantasy."
Forced to report to the Queen of the Fairies (Julie Andrews) and managed day to day by an extremely tall case worker with major wing envy (Stephen Merchant from the BBC version of The Office, the only decent comic relief in a movie clouded by cheesy puns like "You can't handle the tooth" and "That's the tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth."), Derek's tooth fairy "assignments" crop up at the most inconvenient times, namely while in the locker room with his alpha male teammates, during the last quarter stretch of a nail-biting game, even while innocently canoodling with his lady love.
But thanks to his newfound flying ability (as rusty as it is), a magic wand, shrinking cream (yes, a la Honey I Shrunk the Kids, he can conveniently shrink down to the size of an ant) and amnesia dust, he completes his tasks with plenty of hijinks in the process, naturally. Unfortunately for everyone watching, not many of these supposed "funny" moments deliver many laughs. If anything, the film's truly saccharine nature will elicit about the same amount of pleasure as your regular visits to the dentist.
With a little Disney magic, however, Derek's character does undergo a major transformation while sporting all that pink, girly stuff, albeit one you'll see coming from a mile away. Not only does he start caring about someone other than himself (quelle surprise), but he becomes supportive of everyone's dreams, no matter how fanciful, as a result—a move that helps him win back his girlfriend's affection, too.
Certainly, there's a good message about maintaining a child-like sense of wonder deep, deep down in this mess of a movie. The only trouble is the silly, drawn-out journey in the middle. No matter how hard he tries to sell it, The Rock's normally affable stage presence still isn't quite enough to win the audience's affection for very long, especially when the gags' sell-by date has expired long, long ago.
Summing up Tooth Fairy in seven words: There's just not much to smile about.
- Drugs/Alcohol: Derek is told not to "drink and fly." A substance called "amnesia dust" erases people's memories briefly and has strange, drug-like effect on the people it's sprinkled on.
- Language/Profanity: No profanity—instead words like "dang" and "heck" are used. At one point an almost profanity is stopped before the rest of the word could actually be said.
- Sex/Nudity: None. At one point Derek almost gives Randy "the talk" about why his teenage body is changing, but Randy embarrassingly stops him before the conversation progresses.
- Violence: Just a few scenes of hockey-related sports violence where guys are knocked over by other players (sometimes causing their teeth to fall out, hence Derek's nickname, "The Tooth Fairy". At one point, Derek gets hit in the crotch with a tennis ball, and often when in his shrunken state, he bumps into things and suffers a few bumps and bruises.
Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in St. Paul, Minn., she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog.
For more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.