Directed by: Michael Lembeck
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Judd, Julie Andrews, Stephen Merchant, Billy Crystal
Dwayne Johnson might not have the most high-brow repertoire but the poster image of the wrestler-turned-actor sporting giant fairy wings with the tagline “The Tooth Hurts” is ridiculously silly, even for him. Oddly, the thought of “The Rock” being stuck in the role of the tooth fairy did tickle my funny bone somewhat. That, coupled with the fantastic supporting cast which includes Julie Andrews, Billy Crystal and Stephen Merchant made me think this film could have a proper sense of humour.
The film starts off well and as we are introduced to a thoroughly unlikeable Derek Thomson (Johnson), a small-time hockey player with the nickname “Tooth Fairy” named for his propensity for bashing other player’s teeth out during games. He is arrogant, rough and most hatefully he doesn’t believe in having dreams. An early scene sees him verbally bashing a small child who dreams of being a pro hockey player when he grows up. Despite being a horrible person, Derek is playing house with kind, beautiful single mother Carly (Judd) and her son and daughter. After an incident in which he nearly tells the daughter that there’s no tooth fairy, Derek is recruited to become the tooth fairy himself. After being magically transported to Fairyland, an unfortunately rather officious place, Derek is introduced to Lily (a ridiculously beautiful for her age Julie Andrews) and Tracy (Merchant, who proves he should stick to writing) who are in charge of explaining his new role as tooth fairy for one week. He also meets Jerry (Crystal) who supplies him with his magical tools for the job, such as invisibility spray and a shrinking elixir. Crystal plays a small role but is the funniest thing about the film so he easily steals the show early on.
As the story clunkily progresses there are some amusing set-pieces and some cute moments but generally, this is a lacklustre effort by all accounts. The third act becomes unbearably schmaltzy and loses any of its original charm. With five writers on board, the script lacks any semblance of personality and suffers from “too many cooks” syndrome. As the film lags, the storytelling gets lazy, creating connections between people without any explanation. Derek and his handler Tracy, for example, who hated each other were suddenly best friends without the necessary arc of begrudgingly coming to respect each other. Perhaps the writers simply forgot to write it in but didn’t think we would notice because it’s such a cliché that the audience would automatically expect it to happen.
This is an amusing set-up with some, but not nearly enough, charming moments. Dwayne Johnson has hit a new low with this film and his usual charisma didn’t come through at all. Kids might have a giggle at this but it is ultimately lazy and uninspired. What a waste of The Rock in a tutu!
- Charlene Lydon