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Published: Friday, 1/22/2010

Movie review: Tooth Fairy **

BY ROGER MOORE
ORLANDO SENTINEL

Dwayne Johnson tries to cash in on his Game Plan-proven kid appeal and Fox strains to find a little Disney-magic in Tooth Fairy, a sugary blend of Enchanted and Monsters, Inc. that will make you want to brush midway through it.

Instead of The Game Plan's arrogant football player who must learn sacrifice, humility, and teamwork from a child, the former wrestler known as The Rock plays a cynical, washed-up minor league hockey player who has to learn a lesson about encouraging, not discouraging, children's dreams and fantasies.

Derek (Johnson) already has the nickname The Tooth Fairy thanks to his team enforcer role and his brutish skills on the ice. "You can't handle the Tooth!"

He wears that has-been's swagger, complete with a "bonus baby" Corvette now a few years past its last tune-up. And he loves his puns. "That's the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth!"

He's popular in Lansing, but he can't help ruining that by telling kids who want to grow up to be stars the long odds working against their hockey dreams. But when he disillusions his girlfriend's daughter about the Tooth Fairy, the Fairy Godmother of Tooth Fairies calls him on the carpet. She's Julie Andrews and she's not keen on Mr. Cynic, especially after he makes fun of her accent.

He's busted for "first degree murder of fantasy."

Derek is sentenced to be a tooth fairy, at her beck and call. No matter what he is doing, when the fairy Blackberry buzzes, wings pop out, he trots out his magic wand, shrinking cream, amnesia dust, and other tricks to go crawl under a kid's pillow, retrieve a tooth, and leave a dollar bill in its place.

Silly screenwriter. Everybody knows the real Tooth Fairy leaves Sacagawea dollar coins.

There are many "fairy" gags, a few too many "Let's get small" references (Billy Crystal shticks it up in a cameo), and "wing envy" jokes, and entirely too many minutes pass before TV actor-turned-director Michael Lembeck teaches ol' hockey-puck-for-brains his lesson.

As "Fred Claus" ham-fisted as this is, the glint of what might have been a cute kids' comedy still glimmers in random moments. But that Disney touch (which even Disney has trouble replicating) is missing. Even the hockey is unconvincing. So no dollar under the pillow for this cavity.



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