BY IRENE KARRAS
If you can’t find a sitter so you can get to the theatre for Dwayne Johnson’s latest film Snitch, or if you are the sitter, consider watching the family film Tooth Fairy.
“The Rock” is one of those charming actors who is less a thespian than a personality. You know he’s not great at his craft per se, but he’s so winsome on film that you don’t really care. A couple of hours spent watching those dimples and biceps flex in equal measure go by, even when the film itself is subpar. Thankfully, though Tooth Fairy isn’t exactly high art, as far as multi-age family entertainment goes, it’s more than passable.
The story revolves around pro-hockey player Derek Thompson, nicknamed “Tooth Fairy” because his MO is knocking out opposing players’ teeth on the ice. He’s jaded and cynical and doesn’t have a lot of patience for childlike wonder and dreams. After dashing his girlfriend Ashley Judd’s teen’s dreams of grandeur, and almost telling her 6-year-old that the tooth fairy doesn’t exist, he is sentenced to a couple of weeks as a tooth fairy by head fairy Julie Andrews who, disappointingly, doesn’t sing once in the film. Here, he meets his case-worker, British Office co-creator Stephen Merchant, who is quite funny and touching as a worker bee with fairy aspirations; Billy Crystal, the hammy godfather of fairy gadgets; and Seth McFarlane, a questionable black-market fairy potion pusher.
The plot is predictable, the laughs are pretty pedestrian and not particularly clever, the moral is obvious, and the redemption arc holds few surprises. Yet, I can’t help but like this film. The main gag is seeing the larger-than-life Johnson donning a pink tutu for his fairy gig, which brings down this house of kids. With three children ranging in age from 5 to 11 years, there are very few films we can all watch together as a family and that hold everyone’s interest. This is one of those–saccharine and safe enough for the little one, and just smart enough for the older ones. Me, I just enjoy Dwayne and respect the fact that he seems to know his limitations. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, which makes me more forgiving as a viewer and willing to go with the flow. Tooth Fairy is a fun, safe, slightly above-average movie that won’t change your life, but will mildly amuse everyone for a couple of hours on a snowy night.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqnjK79fGSw]
Irene Karras is a Calgary-based communications consultant and freelance writer with a fondness for 1950s Greek melodramas, 1980s coming of age movies, weird Canadian films, and, by necessity, PG movies. She blogs at misplacedmysassy.wordpress.com and tweets @irene_karras.