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Derek Thompson is the Tooth Fairy.
That's what his fans call him anyway. And he's worked hard to earn the moniker. A linebacker on skates, he's a hulking minor-league hockey player who has one simple job: Hit the opposing players as hard as physically possible. And if some of his opponents' teeth just sort of pop out in the process, then so be it. Who cares if he has to spend most of his game time in the penalty box?
Derek Thompson is also a dream smasher.
This sorehead skater has had some rough luck. A shoulder injury got him dropped from the majors and relocated in his current lowly role of muscular meat on skates. And he's none too happy about it.
So when some kid comes by and spouts silly dreams of greatness, Derek is more than happy to squash them. He's the first to recount all the negative things that are bound to happen, and then bursts their bubble with a straightforward, "Lower your expectations, kid. That's how you'll be happy!"
When Derek almost lowers the boom on his girlfriend's little daughter, though—moving in to slice and dice her silly notion that there's any such thing as a Tooth Fairy—he crosses a line. And the good fairies of fairy land decide it's time to teach this lunkhead a lesson. So that night, as he sleeps, he's magically whisked away to a fairy training school and given a good dressing down.
He's also dressed up … with wings, a frilly fairy outfit and a tool belt full of fairy necessities—such as shrinking paste and an all-purpose magic wand—and ordered to collect little tykes' lost teeth for the next two weeks.
The beefy bruiser balks, but he doesn't have a choice, really. In fact, he's told that he'll be working the tooth detail an additional week for every assignment missed. So, for the next two weeks …
Derek Thompson is the Tooth Fairy.
Derek works his way through a number of personal problems—including self-doubt and fear of commitment—and comes to realize that he truly cares for single mom Carly and her kids, Tess and Randy. He asks for Carly's hand in marriage and the foursome become a family.
Randy has some issues of his own to work through. The boy is very angry over the absence of his father (the man's whereabouts are never directly addressed), but with time he and Derek forge a close bond. For Carly's part, she's a hardworking, loving mom who's willing to sacrifice her own happiness for the sake of her loved ones.
Derek makes some hurtful mistakes in his relationships but eventually apologizes and asks for forgiveness. He also comes to realize the value of holding on to seemingly impossible dreams. Turning into something of a big softy, he submerges his negativity and helps Randy with his guitar, helps fellow fairy Tracy earn his wings, and starts working to be the hockey player he always wanted to be.
Fairies. Fairy land. Fairy dust. Magic wands.
OK, I guess I'll say a little more than that: When first transported to fairy land, a disoriented Derek hears someone call his name and replies, "Yes, God? Is that You, God?" (It isn't.) Tracy calls a group of robed fairies "Fairy Krishnas."
Several men—including a very buff and muscular Derek—walk around shirtless in the team locker room. Carly wears an open robe over a formfitting nightgown. When Randy approaches Derek with a question, Derek thinks he's asking about physical changes due to puberty. To celebrate getting his fairy permit, Tracy suggests that he and Derek go to a club where "all the hot fairy godmothers hang out." Derek and Carly kiss a few times.
During the movie's opening sequence, Derek skates up and hits an opponent so hard the guy sprawls through the rink's shattering safety glass. In slow motion we see one of the man's teeth flying into the air above the carnage. Through the rest of the film we see other scenes of similar rink-side crashes and body blows. One of Derek's teammates is sucker-punched from behind and left unconscious on the ice.
During fairy flight training, Derek gets hit in the crotch with a tennis ball. He falls, get hit by a door (while in a shrunken state), runs into things, etc.
Crude or Profane Language
Several exclamations of "oh my gosh" and one use each of "heck" and "dang." Derek starts to blurt out "bulls‑‑‑," but the vulgarity is left unfinished as the scene cuts away with the sound of a car horn. "What the …?" is also left dangling.
Drug and Alcohol Content
In jail, Derek talks to an invisible fairy, and the scene is turned into a gag about drug addiction. A cell mate encourages him with, "You just need to surrender to a higher power."
While not really a drug, fairy amnesia dust has a drug-like impact on people. Derek leaves a whole family stumbling about mindlessly with handfuls of the stuff. He also uses it to repeatedly erase Carly's memory until he can work out a response that won't anger her. And Tracy uses an amnesia dust cannon to wipe out the memories of a crowd of hockey fans. Derek resorts to paying a fairy "pusher" for more dust at one point.
As part of a fairy "swearing in" process, Derek promises not to "drink and fly."
Other Negative Elements
At first, Derek doesn't always make the right choice with Carly's kids: He steals tooth money from Tess and convinces Randy to lie to his mother. And later, during a moment of frustration, he cruelly hurts Randy's feelings—causing the young boy to smash his guitar on the ground in anger.
While in his fairy tutu, Derek asks, "Does this make my butt look big?"
The old casting-against-type routine must be starting to wear a bit thin for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson—as thin as, say, the pink tutu and gossamer tights the hulking actor dons in hopes of eliciting a chuckle or two. In the same vein, I'm sure the film's writing team thought a mixture of smashmouth violence and fluffy-winged schmaltz would be a real hoot, too. But, sorry guys, it all ends up feeling pretty flimsy, and at some points as painful as, well, a toothache.
Is there anything worth chewing on?
Sure. Tooth Fairy contains a few encouragements about working hard and reaching for your dreams. And there's a nice side story that promotes trying to connect with angry kids and communicates the joys of forming a new family. In fact, all these bits probably would have made for a pretty good matinee if they had been given a little more screen time.
But it's the rambling and eye-rolling Tooth Fairy frippery that ends up at center ice. It's ostensibly aimed at shooing off adult cynicism, but, as you can tell, in my case it just made matters worse. Will kids eat up 90 minutes of this saccharine goofiness? Maybe. But even to them it'll be as wispy and forgettable as sugar-free cotton candy.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Dwayne Johnson as Derek Thompson; Ashley Judd as Carly; Seth MacFarlane as Ziggy; Julie Andrews as Lily; Stephen Merchant as Tracy; Billy Crystal as Jerry
20th Century Fox
January 22, 2010
May 4, 2010