Dwayne Johnson stars in this family film as an ice hockey player known as The Tooth Fairy, thanks to his talent for slamming opposing players so hard that they lose teeth. When he almost tells his girlfriend’s daughter that the tooth fairy isn’t real he is summoned by the fairies and forced to assume the duties of an actual tooth fairy for a couple of weeks. He has a case worker (played by Stephen Merchant) and wings that grow out of his back when duty calls. And a bad attitude.
Directed by Michael Lembeck, Tooth Fairy is the kind of light fluff you would expect to be coming from Disney. It’s fantastical, often fun and has a number of great little lines in the script (which was written by about half a dozen people – never really a good sign). Sadly, again like some atypical Disney movie, it also takes a nosedive during the final reel and replaces the humour with schmaltz and a lack of respect for the audience who stuck with the thing.
The cast are all very good. I like Dwayne Johnson a lot and have done ever since I watched his antics as The Rock in the world of wrestling. Ashley Judd is saddled with the girlfriend role and is really there just to add extra complication while the tooth fairy tries to do his job. Merchant is pretty hilarious, though the initial banter between Johnson and himself is overdone and not as good as any of the later exchanges, and Billy Crystal is enormously entertaining in his relatively small role. Julie Andrews does pretty much the same thing that she’s been doing in movies for the past decade or so – she is firm but fair, polite and graceful and a supporter of kids being allowed to be kids before life ruins it all for them. Ryan Sheckler is suitably arrogant as the new team member who knows that he won’t be stuck for long in the minors. Chase Ellison and Destiny Whitlock are okay as the moppets, the former being a young lad with a talent for playing rock guitar that he has no faith in (allowing for parallels with Johnson’s character trying to reclaim his former glory on the ice) and the latter being the young girl who loses the tooth that starts everything off.
There are numerous bad puns, many special effect moments and the constant visual amusement of Johnson in a fairy costume, wings and all. It just has enough steam to get by although it comes perilously close to losing the audience by that terrible, and terribly predictable, finale. The kids will remain entertained and enjoy it all (which is just fine as, obviously, it’s intended for them) but there are much better family films out there for you to pick up.
DIRECTOR: MICHAEL LEMBECK
STARS: DWAYNE JOHNSON, STEPHEN MERCHANT, JULIE ANDREWS, ASHLEY JUDD, BILLY CRYSTAL
RUNTIME: 101 MINS APPROX