© Twentieth Century Fox of Germany GmbH

Zahnfee auf Bewährung (Tooth Fairy)
U.S.A./Canada 2010

Opening 18 Mar 2010

Directed by: Michael Lembeck
Writing credits: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Joshua Sternin, Jeffrey Ventimilia, Randi Mayem Singer
Principal actors: Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Judd, Stephen Merchant, Seth MacFarlane, Julie Andrews

Derek Thompson (Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson) plays ice hockey for a minor league team. What he lacks in ingenuity and talent, he compensates with brute force and aggression. As a result his opponents often find themselves searching the ice for their teeth after a collision with Derek. Thus his nickname: the Tooth Fairy. Off the hockey court he makes the drastic mistake of denying the reality of tooth fairies. He receives a summons accusing him of Violation 70136: Dissemination of Disbelief. Within minutes he finds himself in Fairyland. The headquarters is a huge train-station-like building and the CEO Lily (Julie Andrews) is all business. As punishment he must become a bona fide tooth fairy, complete with wings (“shouldn’t you be more in awe of someone with wings than without?”) and tools for the job: a wand, invisibility spray, shrinking paste, dog-bark mints, cat-away, and amnesia dust. By the end of the film he will have been grateful for all of them.

As Derek becomes a better tooth fairy, he also becomes a better person. Between tooth fairy jobs, he lives a normal life. He gradually becomes a caring partner for his girlfriend Carly (Ashley Judd) and a dependable friend for her children. Little Tess has lost a tooth; son Randy views him less suspiciously. But there is still work to do on the hockey court; his aggression has dissolved, but for a while there is nothing to replace it. Since this is (delightful) family entertainment, it all works out in the end. Dreams come true.

I loved seeing Julie Andrews again and she is perfect: a strict disciplinarian straight out of The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. My favourite character was Stephen Merchant, a British stand-up comedian who plays Tracy, Lily’s right-hand, tooth-fairy trainer. He – thin and nerdy – accompanies The Rock – muscle-bound and naïve – on his nightly visits to retract teeth from beneath pillows. Between Andrews and Merchant everyone in Fairyland seems to have a British accent. Are tooth fairies a European franchise? Directed by Michael Lembeck, Billy Crystal has a small role as the hockey coach. Watch it in English if possible for plays on words like “the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth,” or “fairy krishna,” or “fairyoke.” (This film is not to be mistaken for The Tooth Fairy, a 2006 horror film about a murderer who kills kids.) (Becky Tan)

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