Published Jan 21, 2010The major problem with big-studio G-rated films these days is that they assume that just because their audience is young that they must be stupid. Formulas, tropes and tired devices kids have seen hundreds of times before in their media-soaked young lives are all too prevalent. Kids are smart, and they'll be able to see right through this predictable piece of flotsam after the first ten minutes.
Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson plays Derek Thompson, a minor league hockey legend who's banished his dreams and aspirations for the practicality of life. His relationship with his girlfriend (Ashley Judd) and her emo kids is strained when Derek tries to explain the non-existence of the tooth fairy. Suddenly he's summoned to "Fairy Land," where everyone inexplicably has a British accent, to become a tooth-fairy-in-training, led by Julie Andrews, a jovial case-worker (Stephen Merchant), and a Mr. Fix-It huckster (Billy Crystal). Hilarity is supposed to ensue, but aside from a few slight guffaws (jokes about Fairy-Krishnas and Fairy-Oke were the cream of the crop), hilarity is scarce.
After sitting through the full running time, I just couldn't tell the difference between this and The Santa Clause, or Liar, Liar, or Bruce Almighty, or the dozens of clones Hollywood churns out each year. The Rock strikes me as the type of actor who dutifully learns his lines, shows up on time, is nice to everyone on set, but still has no idea what real acting entails. Although ladies will thoroughly enjoy his eye-candy body, which is in full display in a spandex pink tutu for the majority of the film, leaving very little to the imagination.
The CGI morphing effects are impressive, but are tame by Avatar-standards. The real star of this film is Stephen Merchant as caseworker Tracy, whose rubber-like face and impeccable comedic timing steal each scene he's in. Also, keep a keen eye out for a brilliant cameo by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.
It's a pity, because I really do like the Rock's charisma. But when it comes to fine family fun, WALL-E or Wallace & Gromit, this sure as hell isn't. (Fox)