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Biting the Fairy Dust

MOVIE REVIEW
The Tooth Fairy (2010)

TF-284
Diyah Pera/20th Century Fox

For a cruddy kids’ movie-vehicle for Dwayne Johnson, “The Tooth Fairy” required a lot of screenwriters. Apparently Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Joshua Sternin, Jeffrey Ventimilia and Randy Mayem Singer were all needed to come up with lines such as “may the tooth be with you,” “you can’t handle the tooth” and “thank you fairy much.” Okay, I don’t actually remember the last line in the movie, but spend enough time with puns being beaten into your brain (what primarily passes for dialogue here) and they’ll remain there mutating like a terrible disease.

Anyway, the Rock (sorry buddy, the name sticks) plays another one of his muscled, narcissistic jocks brought down to earth by some little children. He’s danced this dance before, most recently in “Race to Witch Mountain,” so forgive him the boredom apparent in his frenzied pantomiming. This time, he’s a hockey player nicknamed Tooth Fairy, natch. This guy’s a real creep, big on shattering the dreams of youngsters. Towards the beginning of the film, he zeroes in on and casually obliterates his girlfriend’s six-year-old daughter’s belief in the tooth fairy. Soon thereafter, he gets a summons that sends him to some sort of fairy land, sprouts wings, meets up with winged Julie Andrews and — before you can say “hack job” — he’s forced into fairy service.

Besides its most blatant motivation — making piles of money — the movie exists so the Rock can be seen in a tutu and daintily spraying fairy dust. Forgive me for failing to reign in my spasms of laughter. Beyond that, similar to a sub-subpar “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” it relies on some broad, tired slapstick and the usual cloying sentimentality. Ms. Andrews and Billy Crystal show up in a desperate ploy to keep parents from locking their kids in the basement for the picture’s entire theatrical run. They don’t help.

Finally, things conclude with the promulgation of the usual asinine family values that fly in the face of the worst corporate instincts the movie represents. “Dreams are good,” the Rock learns, “for everyone.” True, maybe, but never more so than for filmmakers armed with a conceit, lots of PG hijinks and a hunger for your wallet.

THE TOOTH FAIRY

Opens on Jan. 22 in the United States and on May 28 in Britain.

Directed by Michael Lembeck; written by Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Joshua Sternin, Jeffrey Ventimilia and Randi Mayem Singer, based on a story by Jim Piddock; director of photography, David Tattersall; edited by David Finfer; music by George S. Clinton; production designer, Marcia Hinds; produced by Jason Blum, Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray; released by 20th Century Fox. Running time: 1 hour 42 minutes. This film is rated PG.

WITH: Dwayne Johnson (Derek), Ashley Judd (Carly), Julie Andrews (Lily), Stephen Merchant (Tracy), Ryan Sheckler (Mick Donnelly) and Billy Crystal.

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