Random Factoid #428

29 09 2010

There must be something in the water in Hollywood with everyone dropping dead this week … first Gloria Stuart, then Sally Menke (Quentin Tarantino’s editor), then Arthur Penn, and finally Tony Curtis.  Oh, and for Comedy Central fans, Greg Giraldo.  In alll seriousness, why do deaths in show business always come in a value pack?  Buy one, get four free … what a morbid deal.

Back in Random Factoid #279, I talked a little bit about celebrity mortality, particularly how I was somewhat affected by Natasha Richardson’s passing.  So in the same vein, I got to thinking about what celebrity I might actually cry for when they die.  It has to be someone whose movies are tightly linked to my own life, most likely somehow to my childhood.

Right now, I’d have to say I think I could cry when Julie Andrews dies.  She feels like a sort of cinematic grandmother to me.  But I don’t want to think that it could happen anytime soon …





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 /