Who's In It: Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Judd, Stephen Merchant, Seth MacFarlane, Julie Andrews, Chase Ellison, Destiny Whitlock
The Basics: The Rock is an obnoxious hockey player knocked down from the big time back to the minor leagues (or whatever they call that in hockey), a man with no more dreams or expectations left for himself. So he thinks nothing of ruining the fantasy of The Tooth Fairy for his girlfriend's daughter. You never realized that was such a big deal, did you? But in this movie it's on par with believing in God or, even more importantly, Santa Claus. Hockey guy's punishment involves the sprouting of wings, shrinking dust and a mouthy Julie Andrews as his boss, all of which makes him even less fun to be around. Just the guy you'd want in your child's bedroom at night.
What's The Deal: Maybe the overload of cruddy releases in January has me grasping for any good thing to hold on to, but this is not the absolute worst children's film I've ever seen. Yes, it commits the sin of being all about the redemption of man who resists domestication--because kids are so into movies where adults learn how to be better parents--and its star, a guy who has proven he can be funny while hosting Saturday Night Live, has nothing to do but be a jerk and make grimace-y faces. But Julie Andrews and Stephen Merchant (from Extras, as a wannabe tooth fairy who never got his wings) show up just enough to make you laugh with an occasional witty bit of dialogue. There's even a cameo by Billy Crystal that won't make you want to poke your own eyes out. Shocker, I know.
How It Sidesteps All The Doody Piles That Plagued Imagine That, The Film It Most Resembles: This movie knows that if you're going to make a story for kids that's actually about an adult who has to be taught a lesson, you can't just have grown-ups sitting around tables talking about their problems. You also have to show the unbridled fantasy life going on in its child star's head. To that end, this movie features a lot of special Tooth Fairy effects, like The Rock trying to become invisible or shrinking down to six inches tall and being chased by a cat.
Where You've Seen The Director Before: Not that you'll see him in this movie, but his name is Michael Lembeck and he's a former Love Boat-ish actor turned director. If you're old enough and watched Saturday morning cartoons in the 1970s, he was Kaptain Kool on The Krofft Supershow. It baffles even me as to why I can remember details like that without the aid of IMDb.
Given Limited Budget Options, If You Have To Make a Choice Between This And Alvin & The Chipmunks: Stick to the squeakquel.