As his above-the-title credit indicates, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is still stuck somewhere between his wrestling past and his acting future. His incessant mugging in the treacly new family comedy Tooth Fairy suggests he’s more or less given up on real thespian-ism, despite his acclaimed, against-type performance a few years back in Be Cool. Lately, Johnson’s simply stuck to playing it closer to the (ham)bone persona he developed during his WWF years in a series of middling fish-out-water family films, the latest of which, Tooth Fairy, recently hit Blu-ray. My review after the jump:
It probably doesn’t help Johnson that his role here, that of a cocky, minor-league hockey player named Derek Thompson, requires the same kind of obnoxious hubris that defined his “Rock” alter ego. Instead of stretching as an actor, Johnson relies on his old ringside acting-style, giving an overly broad performance with far too much goofy grinning and not enough grit. (Back in the eighties, Arnold Schwarzenegger would have played the role with a bit more scowl. Muscle-y and cranky in Kindergarten Cop worked; muscle-y and smiley in Tooth Fairy doesn’t.)
The movie’s plot is basically The Santa Clause retrofitted for a lesser fairytale creature. After nearly annihilating a young girl’s belief in “the tooth fairy,” Thompson is sentenced to a week’s work as an actual tooth fairy, which requires him to appear winged and in a giant pink tutu (cue squeals from excitable Fox marketing execs…“I see the poster!”). At Tooth Fairy Headquarters, Thompson encounters Julie Andrews as head Tooth Fairy CEO and Billy Crystal as a Fairy Weapons Specialist. Why these two talented actors agreed to slum it in this toothless comedy is beyond me, but I’m sure more than a pretty dollar was left beneath their pillows for their troubles. Anyway, the two help Thompson get in touch with his inner fairy while he rediscovers his basic humanity. (No, the film doesn’t have a single gay/fairy joke…some politically incorrect humor might have livened the thing).
Then there’s the lovely Ashley Judd, stuck playing the love interest. Seeing Judd reduced to “the girlfriend” role in a “Rock” vehicle made me long for the days when Judd was the headliner of her own movies, typically deliciously cheesy and successful thrillers. Judd, please fire your agent, get Sherry Lansing on the horn and get back to evading serial killers and seeking wisdom from wise black mentors!
Sadly, the biggest loser in all of this is today’s moviegoing youth. When I was a kid, family entertainment meant empowered young characters seeking treasure, saving aliens and soaring on the backs of luck dragons, with nary a Ben Stiller or “The Rock” in sight. Doesn’t Hollywood understand that most children’s fantasies don’t involve annoying adults mugging it up?
Film is presented in colorful 1080p High Definition. Audio options include English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles include English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin.
The BD Disc features a number of kid friendly bonus features, including Tooth Fairy Training Center and Sing Along “Fairy-oke.” Older fans will more likely gravitate towards the featured Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes, “Behind the Scenes of Tooth Fairy” featurette and Audio Commentary by Director Michael Lembeck. Or not.
The BD edition includes a DVD and Digital Copy of the film so you can experience the magic in standard definition and on-the-go.
Both kids and parents deserve better than this toothless family comedy.
Tooth Fairy is rated PG for mild language, some rude humor and sports action. It has a runtime of approximately 101 minutes.