‘The Rock’ wings it in ‘The Tooth Fairy’

***1/2

Here’s a tooth fairy math question from my mother the editor: Children have 20 primary teeth. Would you be better off getting $5 per tooth, or getting a penny for the first tooth, two pennies for the second tooth, four pennies for the third tooth and continuing to double the dough for each tooth up to twenty? Now that the boring math message is out of the way, let’s get on with the review.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson got his name from being a wrestler in the 1990’s, and the nickname stuck in his movies. We saw 2 “Rock” family films, “The Game Plan” (2007) and “Race to Witch Mountain” (2009), which were both good family movies. Johnson’s latest flick for kids, “The Tooth Fairy,” is no different.

In this movie, Johnson plays Derek Thompson, a mildly self-centered hockey player who has the nickname “Tooth Fairy” because he knocks out people’s teeth. He has not scored a goal in nine years, however, and he’s become a big negative Nelly. Derek’s luck is better with his girlfriend, Carly, and Tess, her energy-filled 6-year-old daughter. Her son Randy is a guitar player who wants to do diddly-squat with Derek. When Tess’s tooth falls out, Derek nearly tells her the tooth fairy does not exist, but Carly stops him.

The next thing we know, Derek has a summons from the Department of Dissemination of Disbelief, to which he is transported to become the title character. Yes, looking stunning in a pink tutu. He then meets an assortment of quirky characters including Lily (the ultra-entertaining Julie Andrews), the head fairy, Tracy, his giraffe-like handler who has fairy envy, and “Fairy Gadget Guy” Jerry (Billy Crystal). A big strain is put on Derek’s relationships with both Carly and his team because of this unwanted and quite demeaning occupation.

This film is much better than the kid’s movie I saw last week, “The Spy Next Door,” for several reasons. The chemistry between the main characters is believable; they look like they might be a couple in real life. Even though it’s predictable, like most movies targeted to this age group, it’s fun to watch because you cared about the characters. Billy Crystal’s cameo in the movie is also very funny, as he always has a witty comment after a serious line. I’m still laughing about his description of leaving tiny footprints on his wife while she sleeps.

Johnson’s films never fail to impress with the ridiculous situations they put him in. Seeing Johnson in a ballerina tutu is hilarious, as is most of the film. Julie Andrews, who has appeared in such films as “The Princess Diaries,” “The Princess Diaries 2,” and of course, “The Sound of Music,” really fits the bill as the quick-witted and stubborn boss. The scene where Derek grows wings while playing a hockey game is also quite hysterical. He genuinely looked uncomfortable when the wings grew under his jersey, and who could blame him? Tracy (Stephen Merchant), Derek’s case manager, then bombards everyone in the rink using the Zamboni and a giant sprayer filled with amnesia dust. He gleefully creates a new classic line, saying “Good luck finding your cars.”

There are some things in this film that I did not like. Derek tells a kid to lower his expectations when he says he wants to become a major league hockey player. Another is that Randy is a jerk to Derek, even though he is clearly in search of a mentor.

When I saw the film “Get Smart,” I immediately compared my dad to Johnson. I have been able to do that in every movie he was in since then and it’s the same with the “Tooth Fairy” (No kids, my dad does not put money under your pillow). I can actually imagine my dad in a tutu though (It’s really weird). My dad and The Rock have some similarities. The first is they are both very strong. My dad can’t wrestle, but he can run across a field and back quickly. The next similarity they have is they both possess a sense of humor. (I’m not saying it’s a good one….) Though my dad’s centers more on me getting a lot of girls, he still makes me laugh.

Now that I think about it, I wonder which one would win in an arm wrestling competition? Some questions should never be answered as they might put my dad to shame.

“The Tooth Fairy” is rated PG for mild language (There is an incomplete BS), rude humor, and some sports action. I saw this film at the Tinseltown in Fayetteville. There are a large number of good films showing right now for kids and adults.

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