Monday, September 20, 2010

Light On Charm, The Tooth Fairy Is Just Plain Dumb And Disappointing.

The Good: ?, It provided something in theaters for kids other than Alvin & The Chipmunks?!
The Bad: Lame plot, Terrible acting, Banal character development, Not funny, No charm
The Basics: Not funny, not original and completely obvious and predictable, The Tooth Fairy is not fun for adults or children.

When it comes to children's movies, it takes a lot to impress me. These days, I think children are treated like stupid simpletons and the only way I usually go to see films geared toward them is when I can get into free screenings. In the case of The Tooth Fairy, I am glad that was how I saw the film and it's pretty sad when I come to the conclusion that I wouldn't see it any other way. Even sadder is watching people walk out of the free screening. If you can't keep the free audience, you've got a true loser of a film on your hands. In the case of The Tooth Fairy, it wasn't just adults who were departing the theater early in disgust; kids there seemed similarly disappointed in it and one can already see pundits penciling this one in on their “Worst Films Of 2010” list.

The Tooth Fairy follows in a long tradition of strikingly uninspired movies geared toward children which are cliché, boring and hardly as funny as the writers will think. Like many similar films, it trades on a single premise and sets itself up for an obvious moral which most children who will be watching a PG film will already know. Why? Kids are not as stupid as adults think they are. Unfortunately for viewers, The Tooth Fairy leaves little to consider because it is a ridiculously simple premise executed in a simple fashion which fills out its time with generic jokes which might be included in any of a hundred similar films. In fact, outside the initial fish-out-of-water reversal that puts Dwayne (“The Rock”) Johnson in a tutu, The Tooth Fairy is a collection of mediocre physical comedy jokes which aren't very funny at all.

Derek is a cocky, rude hockey player who is most known around the league for knocking teeth out of the heads of his opponents. He has a good life doing that, but he is short with people around him and when he responds to a little girl, Tess, shortly, he is sentenced to do a week's community service as a tooth fairy. By telling Tess there is no tooth fairy, he is condemned by Lily to perform that task in his area. Outfitted with fairy wings (which are not enough to support him), a tutu, and a wand, he must visit local homes at night collecting teeth and granting wishes, learning in the process how to be a better person.


Just blech. That's a trained professional opinion, too.

The Tooth Fairy is predictable, startlingly unfunny and filled with homogeneously familiar performances. For example, Julie Andrews seems to bring a level of dignity to the film with her mere presence as the divine administrative agent, Lily, but the role is little more than a rehashing of her deadpanning role from The Princess Diaries. She plays the straightman well, but it is nothing we haven't seen from her before. Similarly, fans of Seth MacFarlane who may have seen previews for this played ad nauseam during MacFarlane’s Sunday night animated shows on Fox will be gravely disappointed by his role in this. MacFarlane is particularly unfunny and his schtick seems so familiar that one wonders why he bothered to participate in this movie.

As for lead actor Dwayne Johnson, The Tooth Fairy is pretty much what one expects from an ex-wrestler. Johnson has acting abilities (I've seen it in things like The Southland Tales), but he does not illustrate any of his quality here. Instead, he roughs up players like a wrestler early in the film, does physical comedy well within his grasp in the middle and then softens for the predictable kindness only the most dim viewers will not see coming from the earliest frames of the film at the end. There is nothing original or even interesting about this performance in The Tooth Fairy.

On DVD, The Tooth Fairy is enhanced by a commentary track, which is not at all entertaining and sneak peaks. There is also a singalong function and a featurette on the training center scene. This is not enough incentive to buy this otherwise unimpressive movie on DVD.

In the entirety of this short film, I laughed zero times, which is pretty bad for a film that is supposed to be funny. But if you've seen the movie poster and the image of Dwayne Johnson in a tooth fairy costume, you can pretty much guess the character arc of the film and the lack of development in it. You, at least, have the opportunity to avoid the disappointment that I did not. The Tooth Fairy is a predictable lemon from start to finish.

For other children's movies, please check out my reviews of:
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Despicable Me


For other movie reviews, please check out my index page!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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