Review: Tooth Fairy
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I feel mean being mean about this movie but you gotta do what you gotta do
Trying to level any serious criticism at director Michael Lembeck's Tooth Fairy is like four hardened grizzled WW II vets hand-cranking one of those rotating anti-aircraft guns with four different barrels pointing at a bunch of screaming Japanese Zeros around so they can blast an orange kitten out of a tree. Except the kitten is kind of an asshole and it's 1956 so we're not actually at war with Japan anymore, so you know... maybe it's not the worst idea in the world.
Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson plays Derek "the Tooth Fairy" Johnson, the beloved bruising left-winger on the local minor hockey team. He started as a skill player, a dangler, an offensive prospect that had his dreams dashed by a shoulder injury, and he's now happy to play a couple of minutes a night, hammer the opponents' star player, and spend the rest of the game in his custom recliner in the penalty box. He's a cartoon pragmatist, dispensing hard truths about the impossibility of dreams coming true to young hockey players wanting to be just like him.
As a result, he is summoned to Fairyland, and sentenced by head fairy Lily (Julie Andrews) to two weeks' duty as a Tooth Fairy, a real-deal winged creeper with a bat-belt full of spy gadgets and a lanky, awkward case worker with fairy aspirations of his own (Stephen Merchant, co-creator with Ricky Gervais of The Office). Lessons are learned, a whole bunch of obvious groaner gags are hatched, and everything, eventually, from a guitarist kid's fear of failure to a single mom's love to a future hockey star's cockiness and on and on is resolved in a Really Pleasant Way.
It's a kids movie, pure and simple, endlessly saccharine and full of pratfalls, Healthy Moral Lessons and magic fairy dust. It's also incredibly dull, and a massive waste of what's actually a great cast - Merchant is consistently funny and Billy Crystal is in vintage form as Fairyland's gadgetmaster Q equivalent, and Johnson is as charming as ever. Six year old kids will probably laugh their six year old heads off, but the dullness of the script, the predictability of the gags and the moral convenience and simplicity of the story is going to bore anybody not actually invested in the "ok wait is there actually a tooth fairy or not, dad" debate.
You want this film to be better, just because it could have been. It's stuffed full of legitimate talent and it remarkably doesn't feel like a cynical cash-in, it just feels diluted. It is going to accomplish its ostensibly stated goal, entertaining children, but outside of a few laughs here and there it's not going to do much for anyone else. 4/10