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Tooth Fairy

I've always been an unabashed fan of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, a magnetic screen presence whose charm and charisma more than make up for his shortcomings as an actor. That said, even I'm finding it harder to defend his choices of roles over the past few years, including his most recent turn in the family comedy The Tooth Fairy. Striving to produce quality, family-friendly entertainment is certainly a commendable goal, Rock, but could you do us a favor and throw in the occasional R-rated (or at least PG-13) action flick every once in a while? Please?

The plot of The Tooth Fairy is standard kids-movie stuff: Johnson plays a gruff, self-centered minor-league hockey player who, after crushing the dreams of a few wide-eyed youngsters, is sentenced to two weeks of community service as a tooth fairy. Handed wings, a magic wand, invisibility spray, and other standard fairy accoutrements, he's sent to various children's houses, where he must brave all matter of domestic hazards to fulfill his tooth fairy obligations.

The Rock is usually the best part of otherwise underwhelming movies like this, but he actually stumbles out of the gate in The Tooth Fairy, overdosing on cheese and ham in an awkward first act. What ultimately makes the movie work is British comic Stephen Merchant, recognizable to some as the hapless agent of Ricky Gervais' chronically underemployed actor in HBO's Extras, who plays The Rock's beleaguered fairy case worker. With his thin frame and his subtle, sharp wit, he provides the perfect foil for The Rock's oversized personality, creating just enough of a comedic spark to make The Tooth Fairy a relatively enjoyable, if altogether unspectacular, experience for both the kids and their babysitters. rated this film 2 stars.