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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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Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi: Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint." 
<p>She was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for Catherine de' Pazzi to have married wealth and enjoyed comfort, but she chose to follow her own path. At nine she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10 and made a vow of virginity one month later. When 16, she entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there. </p><p>Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near so her superiors let her make her profession of vows from a cot in the chapel in a private ceremony. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths. </p><p>As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, <i>Admonitions</i>, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious. </p><p>The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people. </p><p>It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. She died in 1607 at 41, and was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Let us never tire, therefore, of seeking the Lord—of letting ourselves be sought by him—of tending over our relationship with him in silence and prayerful listening. Let us keep our gaze fixed on him, the center of time and history; let us make room for his presence within us.

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