The Merchant of Fairy Land
Before suffering a shoulder injury Derek Thompson (Dwayne Johnson) was an NHL star, a top scorer, but now he plays in the minor leagues and is known for his crunching tackles which has lead him to be known as 'The Tooth Fairy' for his habit of separating players from their teeth. But Derek having suffered the bitter pill of disappointment is no longer a believer in dreams leading to him telling a youngster he won't succeed. It leads to a summons to fairy land where he meets case worker Tracy (Stephen Merchant) and fairy boss Lily (Julie Andrews) who inform him he has to do one week's work as a real tooth fairy for shattering a child's dreams. Struggling with not only trying to lead his normal life but also being a tooth fairy Derek slowly begins to learn the importance of having belief.
It's so easy to pre-judge "Tooth Fairy" because lets be honest Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson masquerading around as a tooth fairy with wings and a tutu sounds like a one joke wonder. Yet whilst it is genuinely funny to see Johnson in a tutu with wings there is much more to this family comedy than that one gag, there is a hysterical supporting performance from Stephen Merchant and wonderful cameos from Billy Crystal, Julie Andrews as well as Seth MacFarlane as a dodgy dealer of fairy dust. Yes "Tooth Fairy" is still light weight stuff which less than subtly tacks on a moral message of believing in dreams but it is surprisingly amusing for both children and adults.
As already mentioned it is really easy to pre-judge "Tooth Fairy" and for the first 10 minutes it lives down to those expectations, from a cheesy introduction to Derek being the dentist of the ice or the moment he first transforms into a fairy. It is all incredibly obvious with the muscular Derek in a tutu with wings but then out of nowhere it starts to get good as we meet Tracy, brilliantly played by Stephen Merchant, and truth be told you begin to pay attention.
Now the thing is that as a story "Tooth Fairy" doesn't really throw anything new at us as we first get Derek struggling with all aspects of being a tooth fairy and then struggling to hide it when he is trying to lead his normal life. Even the moral message of having belief in dreams is as obvious as they come and for adults it is all pretty routine stuff delivering family friendly entertainment which doesn't push the boundaries. But the humour is great because you have the visual gags such as Derek sprouting wings or a dog with googly eyes after a too liberal sprinkling of fairy dust but there is also some sharp one liners and amusing characters. It has an imaginative side from the hilarious cameo from Billy Crystal as the comical supplies man to Seth MacFarlane as a naughty fairy dealing dodgy fairy dust. Basically every time your child laughs at something there is as much of a chance as an adult you will be amused by something else.
Of course at the centre of this is Dwayne Johnson and whilst the only thing which maybe stretched is his tutu, Johnson delivers exactly what his character calls for. There is cheesy charm, comedy arrogance and attitude as well as a willingness to not take himself seriously all of which is strangely entertaining. But to be honest whilst there are plenty of fun supporting performances be it Ashley Judd as girlfriend Carly or Julie Andrews as chief fairy it is Stephen Merchant who steals many a scene. Without wanting to sound offensive, the gangly, awkward comedy combined with a comically smarmy attitude and eyes which seem to bulge from his head makes Merchant simply hilarious.
What this all boils down to is that "Tooth Fairy" was a lot better than I expected and whilst it is easy to pre-judge what looks like a one gag movie there is a lot more humour to it than you might expect. And whilst it doesn't necessary push the boundaries of family entertainment it does deliver entertainment for all the family.