Movie Review: The Tooth Fairy (PG)


I Can Handle This Tooth

By Kristen Page-Kirby

Let’s get this out of the way: the trailers for “The Tooth Fairy” make it look intolerable, especially to anyone over the age of 10. I am happy to report that the trailers lie.

“The Tooth Fairy” isn’t great filmmaking, to be sure. But it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting and, unlike most films targeted at preteens, I didn’t want to kill myself once!

Dwayne Johnson, formerly wrestling’s “The Rock,” plays Derek, member of a minor league hockey team that, fortunately for the plot, always seems to play at home. He’s known for brutal hits that knock the teeth out of opponents (a skill that gains him the nickname “The Tooth Fairy,” which is slightly less masculine than “The Rock”), as well as a matter-of-fact view of the world that prompts him to remind autograph-seeking kids that, no, they probably won’t play professional sports.

After nearly spilling the beans to his girlfriend Carly’s (Ashley Judd) daughter about the Tooth Fairy, he’s summoned to Fairyland, where he meets Tracy (a truly funny Stephen Merchant, one of the co-creators of the British “The Office”), a non-winged fairy caseworker; Lily (Julie Andrews), a head administrator of some sort; and Billy Crystal as a “Q”-like role as a supplier of a fairy’s necessities. Derek is sentenced to two weeks as a tooth fairy (get it? It’s funny because that was his nickname!) and learns to believe blah blah blah you know how it ends.

Johnson is proof positive that mediocre actors can step it up when surrounded with people who are better than they are. When he has to carry a scene, he seems unsure; however, pair him with Merchant or Crystal (Julie Andrews is kind of phoning it in) and his comedic timing and general energy increases. Merchant in particular is fun to watch and adds surprising depth to his wingless fairy who’s stuck in middle management.

The movie is also quite clean—so clean I was surprised the film is rated PG. There’s a “bull—-“ cut off after the “bull” by a car horn. Lily also shouts the word “bum,” but it’s Julie Andrews so it’s OK. Johnson and Judd kiss a bit, but quite chastely. There is violence, but in the hockey arena, so it’s all fun and games.

Johnson seems to be moving towards kids’ films, and he has a nice chemistry with younger co-stars. And, let’s be frank, it is rare to find a film that kids and parents can enjoy equally. “The Tooth Fairy” doesn’t quite reach that standard, but at least the parents in the audience will be spared from any real pain.

Kristen Page-Kirby is the editor of Chesapeake Family Magazine. She last reviewed “Leap Year.”