Processed by a half dozen screenwriters, and helmed by the maestro behind the last two Santa Clause movies, The Tooth Fairy is the latest shoddy product to roll off the fantasy comedy matinee assembly line. The elaborate, high-concept premise is a flimsy excuse to see the buff lead squeezed into a tiny pink tutu, and forced into one embarrassing scenario after another, to the presumed delight of squealing kiddies in the middle of a monster-sized, soda-induced sugar high.
Dwayne (don't call him "Rock") Johnson stars as faded hockey star Derek Thompson, now reduced to slogging it out thug-like in the minor leagues, where he's nicknamed "Tooth Fairy" for his frequent knockouts of opposing players. Worse, he has been charged with babysitting a brash Gretzky-like upstart (skateboarder Ryan Sheckler) who's a snot-nosed punk.
Off ice, Johnson's all anti-chemistry with girlfriend Carly — played by the harbinger of nothing good, Ashley Judd. Derek really wins when he tells Carly's adorable 6-year-old that there's no tooth fairy, leading to a summons to fairy land, and a sentence of community service for "disseminating disbelief." What follows is a blur of sight gags and bad puns covered in a haze of pixie dust and desperate flailing by all involved.
You might wonder why Julie Andrews appears in this drek-fest, right until Billy Crystal's grinning mug pops on screen. Crystal's shtick is so tired that it's actually a relief to see a Seth Macfarlane cameo.
When Johnson isn't flitting about zapping things with his magic wand, he's engaged in some Mighty Ducks-quality hockey action, complete with bad play-by-play, though the biggest fantasy is ESPN covering a minor league hockey game. The fictional team is, you'll note, the Lansing Ice Wolves, though the setting looks like Vancouver.
Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].