Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Tooth Fairy


Review by Mark David Campbell

A couple of years ago, former wrestler and macho tough guy Dwayne Johnson let his, er, hair down and showed his softer side in The Game Plan, even going so far as to don tights and perform ballet.  A few years later, Johnson’s star has risen – not far, but it has risen – to the point where he now seems to be the go-to guy for family comedies.  Building on the fan base that he had from films like The Game Plan, Race to Witch Mountain and Planet 51, Johnson once again dons tights in his latest outing, Tooth Fairy.

I’m sure most people, the first time they saw this film’s trailer, buried their face in their hands and decided almost immediately that they were going to give this film a pass.  However, being father to an up-and-coming moviegoer, I had an obligation to see this film, and I gotta tell you, it really wasn’t as bad as you might think.

Johnson plays Derek Thompson, a close-to-washed-up hockey player who is now entering the twilight of his athletic career in the minor leagues.  He’s known for two things:  his rough style of play that earned him the nickname “The Tooth Fairy” for his propensity to knock opponents’ teeth out during play, and his bad attitude, which is even worse off the ice.

Derek’s current fling is Carly (Ashley Judd), who encourages him to try to bond with her two young children, Tess and Randy.  However, when Derek takes it upon himself to shatter Tess’s illusions about tooth fairies, he finds himself whisked away to their home office, so to speak, where he has earned the vitriol of head fairy Lily (Julie Andrews).  His sentence:  he must spend two weeks as a tooth fairy.  And lest he doubt who’s in charge, he is not allowed to tell anyone or mess up, or else he will incur a longer sentence.

The supporting cast, which includes the always-terrific Andrews, also features Stephen Merchant in a funny turn as Derek’s case-worker, a wizened Billy Crystal channeling his Miracle Max character from The Princess Bride, and even Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane as a black marketeer of fairy doodads.  (Yes, you read that right.)

It’s a family movie, which means it’s a feel-good movie, which means that some life-lessons are inevitable.  Johnson does another passable job in the lead role, just another stepping stone in his career.  It certainly wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be (and not nearly as bad as Spy Next Door actually WAS), which is probably something in itself.

3 / 5 stars

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