Tooth Fairy, The (2010)

Rated: PG for mild language, some rude humor and sports action.
Length: 101 minutes
Grade: D+A-B-D=C-
Budget: $48 million
Box Office: $84 million so far (50 U.S., 33 Intl.)

Written by: Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (Fever Pitch, Robots, Edtv, Multiplicity, A League of Their Own, City Slickers, Parenthood, Spies Like us, and Splash), Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia (Mostly TV like That 70’s Show and Murphy Brown), Randi Mayem Singer (Mrs. Doubtfire and TV’s Jack & Jill and Hudson Street) and Jim Piddock (The Man)
Directed by: Michael Lembeck (Santa Clause 1,2,3 and a ton of TV)
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Judd, and Stephen Merchant.
With: Julie Andrews, Seth MacFarlane, and Billy Crystal.

A once-promising hockey player has been relegated to the minor leagues and become a hit-man, notorious for knocking out other players’ teeth. When he tells his girlfriend’s daughter the tooth fairy is a myth, he is conscripted into several weeks of involuntary tooth fairy duty.

Entertainment Value: D+
I think a lot of moms and young kids may well enjoy this. It’s certainly harmless and fairly light. For my own part, I just found it mostly unfunny and simpleminded. My ultimate test, however, for kids movies is Spencer’s reaction. When I asked him if he liked it, he said, “Not so much.” Harsh critique from a 5-year-old who likes everything from Star Wars to Gumby to Bolt. This fits pretty well within the genre of innocuous family comedies such as those made in the last decade by Tim Allen and Eddie Murphy.

Superficial Content: A-
Drugs/Alcohol A, Sex/Nudity A, Violence B+, Language A
There are some comic physical gags involving (in the opening scene) a hockey player having a tooth knocked up into the air during a game and later some fairy infighting, arguing, and inadvertent effects of black market fairy tool knock-offs. This should have been rated G. The one thing I did find weird about the movie was not being clear about the relationship between Terry and Carly at first.

Significant Content: B-
It’s important to have faith and dreams because otherwise life is mundane and unfun. It’s good for macho men to wear effeminate clothes as a way to humble them. When you’ve been assigned an unpleasant task, you should just learn to enjoy it because there may be lessons you don’t realize. Relationships require sacrifice and commitment. The highest happiness in life is service to the dreams of other people. It is nice to see that when he finally matures, Terry seeks marriage as a result of his epiphanies about life.

Artistic/Thought Value: D
The only real thought value here is the progression Terry follows from resenting his assignment to trying to “skate” through it to wanting to do well but being unable to finally being good at it and wanting to help others. As a pattern for what happens to us as we submit to God’s challenges, this is pretty good. But that’s about all there is for thought value.

Discussion Questions:
~Do you believe in the tooth fairy? What does belief in the tooth fairy mean? Is it important for kids to believe in the real existence of magic beings who aren’t real? Is faith important, or is the thing in which you have faith important?
~Which is a more important thing for kids to know: that they might be able to accomplish anything they want if they work hard enough at it or that life is full of disappointments, including the failure to achieve your dreams?
~How does Christianity offer a way for people to simultaneously strive for something without the risks of failure being so acute?
~What is the connection between Terry’s disillusionment with his own chosen profession and his scoffing at the Tooth Fairy? Why would recovering belief in fairies revitalize his optimism about his life?

Poignant or memorable scenes:
~Derek tripping and missing the goal when he had finally decided he was going to really work to be a star hockey player again.
~Derek telling Randy there’s no such things as dreams, and Randy smashing his guitar.
Overall Grade: C-
I was essentially bored by the whole thing, but I do think it’s a harmless movie that some kids may enjoy.

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