I was having a discussion with a friend of mine recently, and the topic was whether or not I would have a drink during a film I was reviewing. Would I have a cabernet or merlot while watching a classic (or Criterion) movie, or maybe have a lower-rent drink while watching popcorn fare? Well if (in this case) it is for the direct-to-video sequel to the 2010 film Tooth Fairy with Larry the Cable Guy in the lead, maybe something a little more toxic is in order.
The film was written by Ben Zazove (who cannot be found on a peripheral search on IMDb for whatever reason) and directed by Alex Zamm, who has directed several direct-to-video sequels, but also the Carrot Top cinematic vehicle Chairman of the Board. Larry plays the eponymous mythical character, an auto mechanic named Larry who is seeing Brooke (Erin Beute), and one day before seeing a child on their birthday, he decides to stop and try his luck at winning a sports car during a bowling challenge, much to Brooke's dismay. He wins the car and loses Brooke in the process. Flash forward a year and Larry is still working on cars, and Brooke is seeing a guy named Bo (David Mackey) who is running for Mayor in the town where they all live. After a flub of Larry's where he tells a kid that the Tooth Fairy doesn't exist, he's banished to the same area where Dwayne Johnson went, to help promote the existence of the Tooth Fairy to kids despite the grown-ups' disbelief. So cue Larry being in a pink tutu for extended stretches because it is apparently supposed to be funny, and he has to collect enough baby teeth from enough kids before his most treasured memory is erased by the 'Tooth Fairy Office' as a penalty.
For as dismissive as I may have been about the first Tooth Fairy film, because Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson had done somewhat interesting roles before that and his one found him a little bit lacking, at least there was a hint of effort and depth from Johnson in the lead that makes you go along for the ride. With Larry, you get a guy that some people find unpalatable to begin with. It is not because he is or isn't a nice guy, he just is not very funny, and both his comedy and the storytelling echo this. Larry farts a green tooth fairy cloud, Larry tends to speak derogatively of Bo, short for Beauregard, Larry is uncomfortable in pink. You get where all of this is going. And hey, he even basically resorts to bribing kids to find old teeth and/or yank others out in order to save his own skin as well. Stop it, my sides!
The other thing that is worsened by Tooth Fairy 2 is that because Larry so dominates the screen time and brings so little to the table, when the dumb hackneyed jokes aren't thrown at you, the supporting cast around Larry takes a back seat and just occupies space. Beute and Mackey aren't memorable in their turns, and as Larry's liaison to the Tooth Fairy office, Brady Reiter assumes the pseudo role that Julie Andrews occupied in the first, and she actually has a bit of charisma and appeal to her. But on the flip side of that, if a preteen girl can do as good a job of acting in a film as a standup comic, that's more of an indictment on the latter than a complement to the former.
I suspect that in an environment where direct-to-video sequels of successful initial family films are commonplace, more Tooth Fairy films may be part of our future. But they are only going to do what Tooth Fairy 2 did to me, something I didn't think it would do; make me want The Rock back in kids' movies.
The Blu-ray Disc:
The AVC-encoded 1.78:1 high-definition widescreen presentation Fox gives Tooth Fairy 2 is fine though it is hardly memorable. Sure, flesh tones are accurate and the film's modest color palette is reproduced dutifully and without concern. But the image detail is slightly lacking for my liking, tending to be almost soft at times even in the closer shots. And background detail is average though hardly razor sharp. I knew coming into the film that I was not going to get too impressed by what the film was going to do, but I expected more than I was given here.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround lossless track is just as adequate without being revelatory. Dialogue sounds consistent in the center channel and requires little in the way of adjustment. Channel panning is present and sounds clear and somewhat effective and low-end fidelity is also decent in scenes that require it. However, it does tend to lack some directional effects and does not make for the all-immersive experience one would expect from a new film. It is about as much as you would expect from a DTV joint.
A few things, though they are hardly memorable or entertaining. "Why Do I Lose My Baby Teeth?" (4:41) is a piece where Larry in character provided the answer to the question posed in the extra. "Return to Fairyland" (9:07) is the closest thing to a making-of piece the disc has, where Zamm actually uses the phrase "digging into the mythology" when discussing the film, and the cast shares their thoughts on the whole magilla. Zamm talks Larry up a lot on this piece, raving about his improvisational skills and comedic acumen. Well OK then. "Larry the Hairy Fairy" (4:52) shows us what Larry looks like in a tutu and the actors talk about how silly he looks, which made me think these people are overcompensating towards the whole 'fat guy in spandex' comic imagery. Eight deleted and alternate sequences follow (9:56), and a piece on Larry's supporting 'character,' a pig named 'Crusher' (2:59) completes the bonus material.
As little as you miss in the first Tooth Fairy film, you miss less than that here. The technical qualities are worse than the first, as are the supplements. This is much more of cash grab and done so with uninspired performances and lazy storytelling, and unless you want your kid to punch you in a few years for this psychological torture, I would not even consider putting this in a rental location, much less renting it.