Tuesday, January 26, 2010


If there is any positive to take away from Tooth Fairy, it's that now I'm pretty sure that I only have to find nine more movies to place on my "Worst of 2010" list. Thanks, Dwayne Johnson.

The positives end there. Tooth Fairy is a heinous would-be comedy that is intended to put a creative twist on the legend of the tooth fairy, but the result is more painful than a root canal -- and before you roll your eyes at my use of bad humor, I must say that I can't help myself, and that the movie is even worse. This is a pale imitation of a mediocre Disney movie where the humor isn't funny, the fairy tale isn't magical, and the actors are all so hapless to stop the disaster that it barely seems like they are participating. Here is a film that literally seems to evaporate as you watch it.

Johnson, aka "The Rock," plays Derek Thompson, a hockey player known as "The Tooth Fairy" because he knocks so many teeth out. Ha ha. He has his own recliner in the penalty box. Hee hee. At this point you might be asking yourself, "didn't The Rock already play an arrogant bastard hockey player in a family comedy?" Well, you're close: it was an arrogant bastard football star in The Game Plan, which was a middling Disney comedy, but by comparison is a work of staggering brilliance. In that film The Rock wore a tutu, and in this one he sports a fairy outfit replete with gauzy skirt, tights, and, of course, wings. Last year Rock starred in another family film, Race to Witch Mountain, and in my review of that film I wondered if he was contractually obligated to star in limp Disney film after limp Disney film. Tooth Fairy is, in fact, not a Disney film, which answers my question: The Rock is not contractually obligated to anyone; he just has a predilection for embarrassing himself on film.

Anyway, Rock's character once had the makings of a great NHL star, but then got injured and was banished to the minors, where he basically stopped trying and settled for being the rough-and-tumble dude that never scores goals. That's a big theme in Tooth Fairy: scoring goals is infinitely important. "I used to score," Rock tells his young friend, as if one has no value in the game of hockey unless they are a prolific goal-scorer.

After telling his girlfriend's (Ashley Judd) young daughter that there is no Tooth Fairy, our hero is summoned to appear before the regal woman who is, I guess, the Queen of Tooth Fairies (Julie Andrews), or something like that. She sentences him to two weeks Tooth Fairy duty, and for the remainder of the film Rock prances around like an idiot in disastrous set piece after disastrous set piece, all under the illusion that the antics are somehow funny, or heartwarming, or at the very least filmable. But he's wrong.

The film is an absolute mess from start to finish. The director is Michael Lembeck, an Emmy-winning TV director who brings a TV skill set to his feature films, and indeed Tooth Fairy is about as visually stimulating as an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. Lembeck previously directed the two awful Santa Clause sequels, and he drains the magic out of this film in a similar fashion. The screenplay, which is credited to five different writers, doesn't help matters, offering a throwaway formula and adding ice skates and fairy wings. It's not funny, it's not enchanting, it's not even watchable.

I'd rather face the dentist drill than sit through Tooth Fairy again. And again, I will not apologize for that cheap line -- this movie doesn't deserve anything more creative than that.

No comments: