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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Tooth Fairy

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Dwayne Johnson stars in a scene from the movie "Tooth Fairy."
Though it features scenes of former pro wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson sporting a pair of more-or-less gossamer wings, "Tooth Fairy" (Fox), a feeble fable about the importance of childhood imagination and the pursuit of dreams, never really takes flight.

Additionally, this mostly family-friendly comedy from director Michael Lembeck includes elements of violent sports action and mature dialogue that preclude endorsement for all.

Johnson plays Derek Thompson, a once-gifted professional hockey player now reduced to body-checking opponents for the enjoyment of sadistic minor league fans. Thanks to the dental damage that often results, Derek has earned the ironic nickname "The Tooth Fairy."

Derek's comedown in the world has left him disillusioned, leading him to discourage a youthful hockey enthusiast from dreaming of glory on the ice and to all but deny—in the presence of girlfriend Carly's (Ashley Judd) impressionable 5-year-old daughter, Tess (Destiny Grace Whitlock)—the very existence of the "real" tooth fairy.

For these offenses, Derek is supernaturally summoned to appear before Lily (Julie Andrews), the matriarch of Fairyland, and sentenced to two weeks of service as a collector of baby teeth. Though an initial mix-up sees him clothed in a tutu, Derek is eventually given a marginally more masculine outfit and assigned to the care of an officious but good-hearted pixie mentor named Tracy (Stephen Merchant).

His new secret mission not only complicates Derek's relationship with Carly, but endangers his macho standing among his teammates, including newcomer and rival Mick Donnelly, played by skateboarding star Ryan Sheckler.

Along with the scenes of bruising rink-top mayhem, the script—penned by no fewer than five screenwriters (Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Joshua Sternin, Jeffrey Ventimilia and Randi Mayem Singer)—incongruously mixes in an exchange between Derek and Carly's 14-year-old son, Randy (Chase Ellison), about the physical effects of puberty.

Though brief, vaguely worded and played for laughs—Derek's impression that Randy is looking for guidance is quickly disproved by the teen's evident discomfort with the topic—the discussion seems especially out of place in a tale supposedly dedicated to celebrating the innocence and wonder of little ones like Tess, and presumably aimed, in part at least, at an audience of her peers.

The film contains moderate hockey violence, some mild sexual references and brief scatological humor. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-II—adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG—parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


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Anthony Claret: The "spiritual father of Cuba" was a missionary, religious founder, social reformer, queen’s chaplain, writer and publisher, archbishop and refugee. He was a Spaniard whose work took him to the Canary Islands, Cuba, Madrid, Paris and to the First Vatican Council. 
<p>In his spare time as weaver and designer in the textile mills of Barcelona, he learned Latin and printing: The future priest and publisher was preparing. Ordained at 28, he was prevented by ill health from entering religious life as a Carthusian or as a Jesuit, but went on to become one of Spain’s most popular preachers. </p><p>He spent 10 years giving popular missions and retreats, always placing great emphasis on the Eucharist and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Her rosary, it was said, was never out of his hand. At 42, beginning with five young priests, he founded a religious institute of missionaries, known today as the Claretians. </p><p>He was appointed to head the much-neglected archdiocese of Santiago in Cuba. He began its reform by almost ceaseless preaching and hearing of confessions, and suffered bitter opposition mainly for opposing concubinage and giving instruction to black slaves. A hired assassin (whose release from prison Anthony had obtained) slashed open his face and wrist. Anthony succeeded in getting the would-be assassin’s death sentence commuted to a prison term. His solution for the misery of Cubans was family-owned farms producing a variety of foods for the family’s own needs and for the market. This invited the enmity of the vested interests who wanted everyone to work on a single cash crop—sugar. Besides all his religious writings are two books he wrote in Cuba: <i>Reflections on Agriculture</i> and <i>Country Delights</i>. </p><p>He was recalled to Spain for a job he did not relish—being chaplain for the queen. He went on three conditions: He would reside away from the palace, he would come only to hear the queen’s confession and instruct the children and he would be exempt from court functions. In the revolution of 1868, he fled with the queen’s party to Paris, where he preached to the Spanish colony. </p><p>All his life Anthony was interested in the Catholic press. He founded the Religious Publishing House, a major Catholic publishing venture in Spain, and wrote or published 200 books and pamphlets. </p><p>At Vatican I, where he was a staunch defender of the doctrine of infallibility, he won the admiration of his fellow bishops. Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore remarked of him, "There goes a true saint." At the age of 63, he died in exile near the border of Spain.</p> American Catholic Blog The greatest tragedy of our world is that men do not know, really know, that God loves them. Some believe it in a shadowy sort of way. If they were to really think about it they would soon realize that their belief in God’s love for them is very remote and abstract. Because of this lack of realization of God’s love for them, men do not know how to love God back. —Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 
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