I’ll bet you weren’t expecting to read a Tooth Fairy re-view today that mixes talk of the cap sleeves on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s tooth fairy outfit with an analysis of the film’s anti-Randian morals. Here’s performer and law person Dizzy Von Damn! with all of that and more.
Let’s get this right out there: I am obsessed with The Rock in a completely sentimental way. It’s not sexual—I am not physically attracted to him, and in fact rather discomfited by his musculature. But it’s more than platonic. I think about him kind of a lot. He survives in my heart because he is a charming motherfucker. For more on me and this weird preoccupation, please read my review of Gridiron Gang.
I first watched Tooth Fairy in post-op recovery. It’s canon for *~hEaLiNg~*. This movie touches on so many of my sweet spots. I was hoping it would hold up pretty well, and spoiler alert, it does. There’s some excellent dialogue, the casting is superb, and the design just sends me. The scaled sets? The Easter-colored and bizarrely modest tutus? The well-tailored bodice of his fairy costume? Double princess seams! I’d love to get my hands on that and see exactly how broad a leotard the Rock requires.
The basic plot is as follows: A hockey brute called the Tooth Fairy is kind of a jerk in the most Ayn Rand-ian sense* and gets dinged by the Department of Dissemination of Disbelief for telling his GF’s kid there’s no such thing as the tooth fairy. He’s sentenced without trial to two weeks service as the very same and hijinks ensue. He learns the value of caring and believing and is released from his sentence early (talk about disbelief) to live happily ever after.
*ie: dreams are bad because they give people unrealistic expectations. Expectations are a construct totally and fundamentally separate from dreams, so that doesn’t even make sense. Also, how rude. Stephanie Tanner rejects objectivism.
Ultimately this is a classic fish out of water redemption arc. It’s a feel-good movie, and it does feel good. It’s funny and charming and didn’t make me cringe like a lot of ten-years-later movies do.
Yes, it has some gendered bits, but surprisingly few. Not gonna lie, I was nervous. There are lots of male tooth fairies, including the case worker/guide who helps our hero, so it’s not the work being gendered. The initial transformation into a fairy leaves him in the traditional fairy’s pink satin tutu—but it’s not the skirt that’s the joke if I’m being honest. What you’d think is a standard flattering sweetheart neckline is just so odd on someone that…. SWOLE. The cap sleeves are little dollops of cream on his gigantic quadruple scoop of shoulders. But he looks very silly in blue satin pajamas, too. I think it goes without saying, but satin is not for everyone.
Once past the color-coded shortcut to thematic development, turns out the skills required to successfully collect teeth are surprisingly athletic. Collecting body parts of any kind will probably require some amount of athleticism since they’re not generally getting handed over willingly. Regardless, a pro hockey bro should be set, and truly he can climb the shit out of some appropriately oversized dresser drawers (CATS take note). It’s the commitment that’s missing. His brand of easy mediocrity, of just meeting expectations, of toxic masculinity is just not enough in tooth fairy world. It’s a family film, so we’re talking tummyache toxic over frothing fatality, but still. He needs to do more than just collect the teeth. In order to succeed, he must embrace the tooth fairy spirit. (I once had a BF who told me he was clearly a really good BF because he came over all the time. That guy also needed the tooth fairy spirit.)
But of course, this is a movie, so within minutes of meeting the head fairy (Dame Julie Andrews) he is apologizing for interrupting her. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn the Dame has that effect. His transformation is convincing. It has backs and forths, and even as he grows he remains imperfect. He retains the capacity for dickishness, using tooth fairy tools to teach his shitty teammate a lesson. It’s harmless misappropriation and you know what, I will condone it. Sometimes it’s nice seeing someone who deserves it get a little mud on their face. But just mud, not anything really hurtful. And just on the face, not in the mouth or anything. Unsanitary.
As in any redemption arc, the movie is premised on the resolution of our hero’s flaw. He thinks there’s no point in trying for more than what can be reasonably expected. He does just enough to keep himself in the lifestyle to which he is accustomed. And then he is abruptly informed that if he wants more, he needs to do more. Gotta play to win.
And so here it is, a Brand New Sentence: Tooth Fairy is an anti-Randian master take on what is required for modern masculinity. One must be more than what is enough for just one’s own happiness/survival. We exist in relation, we bear responsibility for others and they for us. Also, don’t forget to floss.
- This movie is full of references that delight. Billy Crystal cries, “LIAR!” The Rock tells Dame Julie to “alert Q.”
- Seth MacFarlane perfectly typecast as a shithead fairy hawking low-quality black-market tools for lazy tooth fairies who don’t want to actually do anything the right way.
- I am confused as to why they can give the Rock (and any other disseminators of disbelief) actual wings for two weeks but Tracy (the wingless fairy caseworker) only gets a wing brooch
- At the end, the Rock gives Dame Julie a hug in his satin PJs and kisses her cheek and she says “Let’s not get frisky” and I will be damned if that is not an ad lib. I am so jealous of them both.
— Dizzy Von Damn!