Actor turned director Michael Lembeck, director behind The Santa Claus 2 & 3, presents Tooth Fairy, the demon offspring of Walden Media and 20th Century Fox. A vehicle for wrestler turned actor The Rock, at 48 million dollars the financiers could have instead purchased a few dozen Bugatti Veyrons. There is a strong British streak in this American movie, with a few of our big name stars finding employment here, mainly because the story dictates that the magical fairy kingdom residents should all have British accents. A family film, it aims to please all without worrying too much about originality – as you may have guessed from its title. The Tooth Fairy has had bit parts in numerous films and books, and has been the inspiration for an episode of Shaun the Sheep and many other cartoons; rarely though has a feature film centred around the mythical creature.
The plot is pretty easy to guess: Derek Thompson (Dwayne Johnson) is a minor-league ice hockey player nicknamed the “Tooth Fairy” because his bone crunching tackles often deprive opposition players the pleasure of their own teeth. But I’m sure you worked that one out from the poster… what do you mean you had no idea? Ok, maybe the plot isn’t that easy to work out. Anyway he is in a relationship with single mother (these Disney films are using the single mother character a lot recently) Carly (Ashley Judd) and her two kids. One night Derek cons the little daughter Tess (Destiny Whitlock) out of her tooth dollar, much to the disgust of the tooth fairies. Head fairy Lily (Julie Andrews) thus whisks Thompson off to fairyland to begin his punishment – two weeks as a fairy collecting teeth, with the help of his case worker Tracy (Stephen Merchant). At the end of the day he will have learnt his lesson, everyone will be happy, yadda yadda yadda.
There are some big names attached to this picture, as well those already mentioned we also see Billy Crystal, Brandon T. Jackson and a cameo role from Family Guy Seth MacFarlane. The strong cast is one of the movie’s best qualities, and no one puts in a bad performance. The story is anchored around The Rock/Dwayne Johnson, who is a charming man and a big screen presence, even if comedy isn’t his strong suit. The real scene stealer though is Stephen Merchant, who also co-wrote Cemetery Junction with Ricky Gervais. Merchant really puts in about 90% of the film’s laughs, and is given some decent screen time.
The writing is nothing spectacular; it is all very safe and uninspiring. I have to confess that at one point I was moved to tears, but that is because I am very emotionally fragile. The emotional scenes are all very contrived, but whilst it is somewhat disconnected from reality, it doesn’t annoy you in the way that a more pretentious film would. I was rather surprised and slightly annoyed with myself to find myself in tears, I would say this point came when the film unexpectedly moved away from the sunshine and rainbows narrative and injected a bit of venom into the screen.
I believe kids will be moderately entertained by the picture, I don’t think it will win any awards and I know the critics will pan it because it is a safe film for critics to dump on. Overall though it is spectacularly average, I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone, but I don’t think anyone will regret seeing it.