Tooth Fairy (2010)
Tooth Fairy (2010)

Genre: Fairy Tale Running Time: 1 hr. 42 min.

Release Date: January 22nd, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Michael Lembeck Actors: Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Judd, Stephen Merchant, Julie Andrews, Ryan Sheckler, Seth MacFarlane




here’s nothing even remotely plausible about “Tooth Fairy,” although it isn’t exactly meant to be grounded in reality. But that’s also where it fails – Dwayne Johnson’s character is given all of the qualities of a real life sports star, the predicaments he encounters with his various relationships are certainly believable, and the solutions could have been sorted out with logic. And yet the completely supernatural aspects of becoming a fairy are thrown in, taking over the better portion of the plot and serving as a substitute for quality resolutions.

Derek “The Tooth Fairy” Thompson (Dwayne Johnson) gets his nickname from knocking out his opponent’s teeth on the hockey rink. He’s a minor league professional who’s continually called into the game specifically to smash the other team through the glass walls of the arena – earning him more penalty box time than any other player. Overconfident, self-centered, and a ham for his cheering audiences, Derek doesn’t think twice about telling a young kid: “Lower your expectations. That’s how you’re gonna be happy.” That same evening, the humungous athlete is in for a shock when he sprouts wings and is magically transported to the land of fairies, governed by the no-nonsense Lily (Julie Andrews).

It’s not the illogical nightmare Derek hoped for. Instead, he’s summoned by the Department of the Dissemination of Disbelief (Tooth Fairy Division) for shattering a child’s hopes and dreams. In order to pay his debt to humanity, he’s sentenced to two weeks as a real tooth fairy (it would have been only one week were it not for his offensive nickname, which makes a mockery of the entire fairydom). He’s ushered down to a wacky gadget man (a cameo by Billy Crystal) in the style of James Bond’s Q, who outfits him with Shrinking Paste, an invisibility spray, and a magic wand so that he can stealthily sneak into houses, take teeth from under pillows, and deposit money for the sleeping children. His animosity toward the whole idea and his reluctance to participate are contrarily muted. He’s assigned a lanky, tuna-fish-eyed case worker, Tracy (Stephen Merchant), to guide him through his hectic tooth collecting schedule.

“Dreams are good,” Derek finally admits, informing audiences of the point behind all of “The Incredible Shrinking Man” gimmicks and family-friendly dilemmas. It’s a good thing he spelled it out for everyone; otherwise viewers may never have understood why Johnson lowered himself to wearing a pink tutu and barking like a dog. “Tooth Fairy” is beyond ridiculous, but it didn’t have to be. There’s enough substance in the side plots, including Tracy’s wing envy (he’s one of the rare fairies who can’t fly), Derek’s involvement with Carly (Ashley Judd) and her two kids, one of who needs some encouragement to embark on his goal of becoming a rock star, and Derek’s own dreams – he’s stuck in the hockey minor leagues and hasn’t taken a scoring shot in 9 years.

But these films are all about sticking to a generic template, one in which a generally decent guy does a lot of bad things and must then redeem himself, all while staying within the strict boundaries of a PG rating. With former wrestling superstar “The Rock” in the lead, it’s not surprising that he ends up shirtless during the first two minutes of screentime, or that he plays a cocky jock, or that he’s inconsiderate when it comes to kids. Maybe if the introduction to the fairy world wasn’t so abrupt and jarring the use of so much fantasy wouldn’t have gotten in the way of a simple, formulaic story.

– Mike Massie

  • 4/10