We’re not supposed to call Dwayne Johnson The Rock anymore, which is a real shame because his name lends itself to all manner of pun-based nicknames and headlines. Well, we can smell what The Rock is cooking this time – family comedy!
Dwayne Johnson plays Derek Thompson, an ice hockey player who’s garnered the monkier of The Tooth Fairy for his habit of knocking his opponents’ teeth out when he checks them into the sides of the arena. After discouraging a child’s dreams of hockey stardom and telling a six year old that the winged taker of teeth doesn’t really exist, he is sentenced by the real Tooth Fairy (Julie Andrews shockingly) to two weeks’ hard labour in her service.
Unfortunately, he’s trying to get serious with his girlfriend Carly (Ashley Judd) and her two children Randy (a sulk on legs played by Chase Ellison) and six year old Tess (Destiny Whilock) and of course his impromptu stint in a tutu is going to cramp his style somewhat. Luckily he’s got reluctant assistance from Tracy (Stephen Merchant), a wingless fairy caseworker who dreams of one day getting his wings and Jerry (Billy Crystal), a sort of fairy version of Q who’s has a variety of tricks up his sleeves including shrinking paste, invisibility spray and amnesia dust.
Tooth Fairy isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds. Watching the muscle-bound Johnson in a pink frilly tutu is actually pretty funny (and if you think about it, not a million miles away from his wrestling background) but when that wears off Johnson’s innate charisma makes him constantly watchable. There’s a feeling that it’s the script that doesn’t do him justice, Johnson’s got a talent for comedy and dare I say it, acting, and it’d be nice to see what he could do with a less limited screenplay.
While the plot is about as predictable as you like, Merchant’s off-the-wall comments and sarcastic put downs prevent it from becoming monotonous and there are one or two extremely funny lines. There are moments which are cheesier than a milkmaid’s sock but these are largely kept in check and when they do come they’re done with a knowing wink – it’s hard to begrudge a film that’s about believing in your dreams for having a happy ending.
All in all, Tooth Fairy is a harmless and fun family comedy that will raise a few laughs from even the adults which have been dragged along to see it. The pace slacks off a bit towards the end and it could have done with being about 15 minutes shorter, but there are enough gags to be getting on with that you’ll walk out with a smile on your pearly whites – if you haven’t already been blinding by the light glinting of Johnson’s.