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Movie Review: The Tooth Fairy

 
Prinz Lee image

Prinz Lee wrote this review 5 years and 2 months ago

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Written 1/24/10

I’m not going to go off on this film. It’s been marketed for its purpose and let’s see what kind of damage it’ll do at the box-office this weekend. The magic of racking up Regal Cinema points came in handy, as I had no intention in paying for this whatsoever.

I will say this though… what happened to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? Remember how they painted him to be the next action-hero? Man, this guy went from a King to a badass Bounty Hunter and a self-made ass-kicking Sheriff… what transpired from there – Disney – led him to playing a fucking fairy? I had high hopes for this cat. Truth be told, I thought all the roles we’ve seen Gerard Butler in were the ones we’d see Johnson in. Well, maybe not all… I think The Ugly Truth can be deleted from that resume. Overall, it seems to me money will sometimes out weigh career moves… But, that’s neither here nor there and I can’t be judgmental as he beat the odds in a very tough business and he’s doing his thing. For now… I wonder how much longer till he dials Vince’s number.
Watching modern kiddie comedies, it’s generally better for the soul to look for ways in which the glass is half-full rather than half-empty. Case in point: The new Dwayne Johnson vehicle, The Tooth Fairy, doesn’t feature a lot of dick-slamming, farting, singing CGI rats, or rambunctious children. It does feature Julie Andrews in a welcome return to her usual role as a sweetly benevolent patrician figure. Frequent Ricky Gervais partner Stephen Merchant is pretty funny in his role as a put-upon functionary. Johnson remains a reliably charming presence, and one of the kid stars isn’t too precious. For a bad, broad comedy, Tooth Fairy boasts a surprising number of positives. Which isn’t to say that it’s a good film, but it could be much, much worse… especially after viewing a stomach-virus titled Legion.


Johnson stars as a popular minor-league hockey player nicknamed “The Tooth Fairy” because his signature move is knocking out opposing players’ teeth; as his coach points out, he’s a show pony, not a player, but he’s reconciled himself to his thoroughly compromised dreams of glory, which he actively preaches to everyone around him. Then he heartlessly tells the daughter of his girlfriend (Ashley Judd) that the actual magical Tooth Fairy doesn’t exist. Suddenly, he sprouts wings and is whisked off to Fairyland (I’m serious), where caseworker (Merchant) and head fairy (Andrews) sentence him to atone by working as a Tooth Fairy, largely by engaging in manic slapstick involving a bunch of clumsy CGI.


If nothing else, The Tooth Fairy keeps the story moving along, largely by packing it with a staggering number of plotlines. By the film’s end, Johnson has to patch things up with Judd, save his faltering hockey career, teach a lesson to an obnoxious young-turk player, convince Merchant to believe in himself and become a full-fledged Tooth Fairy, and bond with Judd's pre-puberty stricken son, boosting his self-esteem enough to get him into the school talent show. And then there’s dealing with Tooth Fairy trainer (Billy Crystal), learning to use fairy magic, and collecting all those kids’ teeth, for reasons never explained. Some of these plotlines prove execution, especially given that Johnson can pull off “charming,” “sincere,” and “bad-ass” pretty well, but doesn’t seem to have settings for “surprised,” “scared,” or “filled with complicated, layered angst.” But director Michael Lembeck (The Santa Clause 2 and 3) keeps things cool, and it’s all over pretty quickly, so audiences are rarely given time to reflect on how utterly ridiculous and pointless all this is. That leaves the glass at least a quarter full.

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