When a minor league hockey player who specializes in rough checking disillusions one too many small children, he is given an unusual summons - for one week, Derek Thompson (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson), complete with wings and tutu, must assume the role of "Tooth Fairy."
Why is a movie directed at kids about an adult not crushing kids' dreams? Won't some of the target audience still believe in things like tooth fairies? I can see all kinds of questions coming out of this one. That said, this cliched and unevenly amusing film is likely only to amuse the wee ones, although even they were spouting lines of dialogue before the characters at the screening I attended.
Derek Thompson is a hockey player who coasts on his image as "The Tooth Fairy" rather than scoring goals. He's got a great girlfriend in Carly (Ashley Judd, "Bug," "Crossing Over") but her two kids, especially older boy Randy (Chase Ellison, "Fireflies in the Garden"), need even more wooing than she does. When Derek dares to suggest to little Tess (Destiny Grace Whitlock) that there's no such thing as the tooth fairy (After he's snagged her dollar to continue in a poker game? What kind of sissy stakes are these?), Carly is enraged. He woos her back, but once he's called upon to be the real thing, his erratic behavior introduces more problems. Screenwriters Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel ("Fever Pitch") and Joshua Sternin & Jeffrey Ventimilia ("Surviving Christmas") and Randi Mayem Singer ("Mrs. Doubtfire") (from a story by Jim Piddock! five screenwriters to develop yet another guy's lame idea!) go the usual route of having a man learn what's important in life through the children he's neglected.
Johnson, like Jackie Chan, has proven to have a surprising amount of charm in mediocre films, but not enough to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. He mugs more than usual here (along with pro skater Ryan Sheckler as his nemesis-turned-supporter in an unbelievable about face), but the supporting cast is not to be sneered at. As tooth fairy uberlord, Julie Andrews is looking a bit mummified, but she has a few good lines and delivers them well. Even better is Stephen Merchant (writer/producer of TV's "The Office," "Hot Fuzz") as Derek's 'Case Worker' Tracy, a fairy who cannot collect teeth because of his lack of wings (it's no stretch to figure out he will earn them here). Merchant is actually committed to comedy, something that seems to have escaped director Michael Lembeck's ("Connie and Carla," "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause") attention. Old pro/hambone Billy Crystal is like the 'Q' of the fairy world, and, despite his mostly recycling his "Princess Bride" schtick, scores with an amusing scene involving Derek and 'amnesia dust.' "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane also shows up as a fairy black marketer. If only the writers playing characters here had actually done some of the writing....
If you decide to go see "Tooth Fairy," you're going to get pretty much what you deserve, but in the overall scheme of things, there are a few puffs of laughing gas delivered with the anesthesia here.
Robin did not see this film.
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