23 May 2004 | marxthedude
TOOTHLESS, EFFORTLESS, WORTHLESS.....
If you've ever gone through your premium rate movie channels on a Saturday afternoon and wonder why you are paying such rates for cheap, ill conceived movies for young children, chances are you are watching a film like 'Tooth'. It's more than a coincidence, as the film itself is co-financed by US companies, known for turning a quick buck out of these Pay TV time fillers (and no doubt sensing the added plus of a UK theatrical release!)
A seemingly fun concept, along the lines of fairytale themed notions gone awary, like say 'Elf' or 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' we learn about the secret underground regime of Tooth fairies. A mostly jaded crew who employ time-consuming and unsubtle means to 'vacumn up' teeth and return cash in exchange for any 'loose tooths' left under a child's pillow. (Even your youngest child will crow 'wouldn't it be easier to just pick it up?').
How this turns a profit, is one creative bridge too far for the writer, so we quickly move on to the devious Plug who in need of a National Enquirerer-esque scandal, uses his security company to track the down Tooth Fairies and fill newspapers full of money making exposes. This is made easy for him when the bored, rule breaking fairy, Tooth, (genius name) decides to reward a poorly family with a wish of unlimited wealth, setting a crashing turn of events resulting in kidnap and the possible cancellation of Christmas.
What little creative thought used here, and trust me it is little, is undone by threadbare writing. Characters are sparsely written, with stereotypes beyond even the most basic of children's television. Once proud actors plod in, warble their lines and go, lacking any real decent personalities to get their (cough!) teeth into.
The only character worth playing in the script is Plug, put into the seemingly able hands of talented comedian Harry Enfield, who proceeds to give it the gusto of a car insurance promo. "Lock, Stock" fans will wince at Vinnie Jones whimpering the line "I'm a tooth fairy" and followers of Oscar Winner Jim Broadbent, will insist he would never have recorded his lines, if he knew they would eventually be uttered by the worst animatronic bunny this side of an old 'Doctor Who' episode! The pivotal Rabbit, sums up the entire look of the film. Cheap, with unrealistic sets and what little special effects the film does have, are vastly outshone by your average television commercial. Whenever Tooth and co. make time consuming journeys, a detail-less map appears with voice over dialogue.
It's hard to see where any of the money has gone at all, certainly not on the writer or director one suspects.
If this film has any saving grace, it's the sheer verve and energy of it's younger cast, particularly spectacular little Yasmin Paige, with the film's only savvy casting of her in the title role, who seems to be trying to wake the audience up throughout her screen time. But even all her efforts can't disguise what is an effortless ploy to trick children of their money.