Tooth Fairy

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Appealing but not particularly skillful or versatile, Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) seems determined to maintain his bankability as a movie star at all costs. He's now playing similar roles in broad comedies, made for young, undiscriminating children, that Schwarzenegger used to do in his prime, in the 1980s.

Remember Johnson's "The Game Plan," "Get Smart," and "Race to Witch Mountain"? His latest effort is "Tooth Fairy," a disappointingly schmaltzy and predictable fable fantasy, which might appeal to some children but parents and other adults (if they go) would be looking at their watches. Fox will release this one-weekend picture Friday, January 22.
 
Johnson plays Derek Thompson, a hard-charging, league ice hockey player whose nickname comes from his habit of separating opposing players from their bicuspids. 
 
Taking himself far too seriously, he is struggling to keep his position on the field, while courting his girlfriend (Ashley Judd), a single mother of two kids. To finance his poker game, he steals the tooth-fairy dollar from under little Tess's (Destiny Whitlock) pillow, and he is unable to communicate with older brother, the teenager Randy (Chase Ellison).
 
Derek gets punished when he discourages the fabulous dreams of a youngster. The punishment is a sentence to hard labor as a "real" tooth fairy, with all the requisite wings and magic wand. Derek's chief accuser is Fairyland's no-nonsense matriarch, Lily (Julie Andrews), who sentences Derek to two weeks of hard time as a Tooth Fairy.
 
At first, Derek "can't handle the tooth," and so he bumbles and stumbles as he tries to wing his way through strangers' homes, and fulfill his function as a good tooth fairy.  But the adventure turns out to be a redemptive journey of self-discovery: Slowly adapting to his new position, Derek begins to rediscover his own forgotten dreams.

Johnson is blessed with a likable persona, and he acts lightly, in an understated manner that cashes in on his attractive body and physical agility. But unfortunately, there's no rapport between him and Ashley Judd; you don't root for them to be together. And his scenes with the younger cast are not good either because they are poorly directed.

Nominally, Julie Andrews is well cast as the stern but really warm-heated Chief Tooth Fairy, and watching this graceful star brings back fond memories of her holy and noble parts in "Mary Poppins," for which she won an Oscar, "The Sound of Music," and more recently the popular franchise "The Princess Diaries."  But, alas, her brief appearance can't really compensate for the film's many other shortcomings.