REVIEW: Tooth Fairy

7 06 2010

Dwayne Johnson (aka “The Rock”) has become quite good at using his physical strength as an asset in kid’s movies. He managed to turn Disney’s “The Game Plan” into something actually quite disarming and fairly entertaining. But now, after doing “Tooth Fairy” for Fox, we can clearly see that charm doesn’t follow the star. Perhaps it’s strictly Disney’s property, this movie seems to suggest.

The movie deals in the mythical, offering a different and ultimately disconcerting take on the Tooth Fairy. There isn’t one tooth fairy but multiple, many of whom are swapping money for teeth not out of their benevolent spirits but as an act of penance. That’s the case for aging hockey star Derek Thompson (Johnson) who is apparently incredible yet still in the minor leagues. He kills dreams not just by ruining the myth of the Tooth Fairy but by pessimistically offering his take on the future to crush idealism.

So he receives a summons from the “Department of Dissemination of Disbelief,” led by a fairy played by the always graceful Julie Andrews.  This is just a wannabe of the Council of Legendary Figures in “The Santa Clause 2,” which included Mother Nature, Father Time, Cupid, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, Santa Claus, and a self-conscious Tooth Fairy seeking a less emasculating title.  But there’s more to the movie’s demise than just the fact that the premise has been used before.  “Tooth Fairy” is critically deficient in creativity and energy, both of which are needed to power a movie of such mythical magnitude.  Johnson here merely dials it in, absent of all the fun and compassion he showed in “The Game Plan.”  It’s almost as if he’s as tired of acting the same tired message as we are of receiving it.

The real question the movie raises is where on earth has Billy Crystal been the past decade. And why on earth did he choose “Tooth Fairy” to come back with? That’s not exactly a triumphant return with a blaze of glory. He makes two small appearances and manages to get a few small chuckles out of us, although one has to wonder if they are pity laughs for a man that once could consistently leave us in stitches.

I will give “Tooth Fairy” that it does have one great strength: puns.  Clever wordplay involving teeth and fairies pops up all throughout the film and in great quantities.  Depending on your sense of humor, you’ll let out either a mild chuckle or you’ll roll your eyes.  But puns are no replacement for good comedy and imagination.  C /

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3 responses

7 06 2010
Red

I salute you for even giving this film a try. Lord knows I couldn’t.

9 06 2010
Dan

The Rock seems to have cornered the kiddie-action flick market. I guess he was destined for it after WWE.

9 06 2010
Marshall

I mean, it’s a totally natural progression … right?

Also, @ Red – the things we do for family movie night.

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