Directed by: Michael Lembeck (The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause)
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Judd, Julie Andrews, Stephen Merchant, Ryan Sheckler
Even with six writers, the director who made Connie and Carla (2004) and 67 episodes of Major Dad, and one former pro wrestler in a tutu—Michael Lembeck’s Tooth Fairy is nothing more than a rehash of The Santa Clause (1994). Not that this should come as any surprise, seeing how Lembeck is one of the parties to blame for the last two Santa Clause flicks. I find it more disappointing that the world doesn’t appear ready for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to transmogrify into the Easter Bunny.
Instead of a curmudgeonly Tim Allen being whisked away to the North Pole to be magically transformed into Santa Claus and thus learn the true meaning of Christmas, we get a curmudgeonly Johnson being whisked away to “Fairyland” (no subtext there, I’m sure) to become a tooth fairy and learn the true meaning of dreams. Between the two movies, I’d say it’s a wash. The only real difference is that The Rock ends up shirtless a lot more than Tim Allen. This isn’t a commentary on my desire to see The Rock topless, but more a general show of thanks that Allen usually keeps his clothes on in movies.
The humor mostly consists of the requisite Roquefort-riddled slapstick and more than a healthy dose of bad CGI. The real draw here, however, appears to be America’s desire to see big muscle guys emasculated. At least, that’s what we get, though I can’t really say I had the proper hysterical Pavlovian response to The Rock in powder blue leggings.
None of this is quite as teeth-grittingly obnoxious as Billy Crystal’s mullet-sporting, bolo-tie-wearing Borscht Belt shtick, or as unfortunate as Julie Andrews being anywhere near this thing. But don’t worry, they’re barely in this mess, since The Rock also plays a hockey goon, meaning the film’s main mode of uninspired filler is the kind of droning hockey action that makes you wish for a heavy dose of the Hanson Brothers.
Don’t think, however, that all of this is for naught. No, the film makes sure to shove down the audience’s gullet its message of following one’s dreams, because anything is possible. Even for a kids’ movie, this is pretty humdrum stuff, but Lembeck and the half-dozen grown men it took to come up with this have a point. Kids, yes, you should follow your dreams. At the very least, you could make a movie better than Tooth Fairy. It wouldn’t take much. Rated PG for mild language, some rude humor and sports action.