'Fairy' even less fun than a toothache

Article Published: Jan. 28, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
'Fairy' even less fun than a toothache

"Do these wings make me look fat? Or desperate?" Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars in 'Tooth Fairy.'

When I first saw a trailer for Tooth Fairy, my first thought was: They made a movie with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Julie "Sound of Music" Andrews? There's no way that can go wrong!
I was joking, but even then I wondered if the movie might actually be good. I liked The Rock in The Rundown and Get Smart, and Andrews, Ashley Judd (Double Jeopardy) and Stephen Merchant (co-creator of The Office) all bring talent to the project.

So, my advice for anyone who also wondered if it might be good: Don't. Tooth Fairy is absolutely terrible, a miserable film that's mean spirited three-fourths of the time and artificially cute and sentimental the other fourth. That's not to mention that the plot's cliched and the movie so painfully long that most people will be looking at their watches and simply hoping it ends sooner instead of later.

It also doesn't help that Tooth Fairy comes out one week after The Spy Next Door, a much better film with similar themes. Both films center around a hero trying to impress his girlfriend's kids and attempt to derive humor from the odd interactions as the hero tries to connect with the children. The difference is that in Spy, Jackie Chan actually cared about the children and tried to keep the kids out of his troubles; in Tooth Fairy, minor league hockey player Derek Thompson (The Rock) is just going through the motions to impress the girlfriend (Judd) and, on a couple of occasions, is downright mean to the kids.

In Tooth Fairy, Thompson is called "The Tooth Fairy" by his fans, due to his ability to deliver hits so hard they'll knock your teeth out. This happens in an early scene, and a tooth goes flying in the air, perfectly white and polished all around. Why it's OK, in a PG-rated movie, to smash a guy through a sheet of glass so hard his tooth comes out, but isn't okay to pay tribute to the medical theory that the knocked-out tooth would be covered in blood still confuses me.

So Thompson, one night, tells his girlfriend's daughter there isn't a Tooth Fairy after taking the money out from under her pillow to gamble with his friends (it's cool, though, because he was going to replace it once he won some money). This angers the real Tooth Fairies, led by Lily (Andrews), and Thompson is sentenced to serve two weeks as a Tooth Fairy - he even gets magical wings and a tutu.

But Thompson doesn't like his assignment and treats his case manager, Tracy (Merchant), in the same way a bully treats a nerd. He picks on wingless Tracy mercilessly, since Tracy has "wing envy." Don't ask why Lily, who can magically make Thompson's wings appear and disappear, can't simply Poof! some onto Tracy.

Midway through Tooth Fairy, when Thompson's generally mean character was tilting more toward a Robert DeNiro villain than the main character from a film marketed for younger audiences, I wondered what anyone thought they were going to accomplish here. When Thompson used his fairy powers to humiliate and get revenge on a younger player - a scene that's apparently supposed to be funny - I was getting downright uncomfortable.

Don't get me wrong: mean can be funny. It's hilarious when Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler with serious anger management issues) attacks Bob Barker or when Billy Bob Thornton shouts obscenities at children while working as a mall Santa. But mean is only funny in movies that let their audience in on the joke and, well, aren't made for young children. Also, when those movies don't conclude with 15 minutes indulging in ill-conceived, artificial fairy tale emotions in which all the characters seem to forget all the mean and terrible things said and done to them in the first 90 minutes.

I understand that the idea of The Rock in a tutu is kind of funny, but I don't know whether it's sadder that the execution ruins the funny idea or that an entire production team never stopped to wonder whether or not Tooth Fairy was a little too mean-spirited.

Tooth Fairy, rated PG for mild language, some rude humor and sports action, is currently playing at the Regal Cinema 7 in Boone and the Parkway Theater in West Jefferson.

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