[box cover]

The Tooth Fairy

TV impresario Stephen J. Cannell — creator of "The Rockford Files" plus a legendary string of 1980s hits like "The A-Team," "The Greatest American Hero," "Wiseguy," "Hunter," "Riptide" and "21 Jump Street" — takes top billing for producing and co-writing this insouciant slasherfication of the venerable childhood sprite who trades discarded baby teeth for coin. Exploiting Cannell's reputation for bubblegum TV is an odd marketing hook for a low-rent, straight-to-video horror yarn, but lesser producers would just as well have shirked responsibility for such an ill-advised project, and Cannell's eager embrace of The Tooth Fairy (2006) may have made the difference between a simply awful movie and a pleasantly enjoyable bad one. Rather than quietly leaving a quarter under the pillow, Cannell's Tooth Fairy is a mangy old witch who lures the wiggly-toothed with the promise of shiny rewards but, with tooth-in-hand, dismembers her charges with an ax. Young Nicole Muñoz stars as Pamela, a 10-year-old whose last, loose baby tooth reawakens the dormant she-devil as she accompanies her mom (Chandra West) to the grand opening of backwoods bed-and-breakfast restored by mom's old beau, Peter (Lochlyn Munro). Turns out the new B&B used to be the Tooth Fairy's killing den, and, despite warnings from a creepy neighbor (P.J. Soles) and the ghost of a slain child (Jianna Ballard), Peter and his guests stick around for a long weekend of gruesome massacres before taking the supernatural threat seriously. So much of The Tooth Fairy is so stupidly odd, one might suspect it were an intentional parody if only it were funny. Sadly, the only intentional humor revolves around two distastefully cartoony backwoods rapists, but that doesn't stop much of the rest of the picture from eliciting woeful amusement, with scene-after-scene of irrelevant character development (most gratuitously in the case of Star [Carrie Roberts], a former stripper-turned veterinary student who appreciates being taken seriously by men who are trying to screw her) spacing out the lively, aggressive and gory, but ultimately trite horror sequences. The Tooth Fairy isn't much worse than the similar, higher profile, 2003 fright failure Darkness Falls, but it manages a little more inadvertent entertainment value, and both Muñoz and Munro are appealing enough to almost mask the movie's otherwise total lack of quality. Anchor Bay presents The Tooth Fairy in a good anamorphic transfer (1.78:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Cannell is joined by TV-veteran director Chuck Bowman and supporting player Jesse Hutch on a jovial commentary track, and the feature is also accompanied by two short featurettes, "Hatchet Job: The Making of The Tooth Fairy" and "Tales of The Tooth Fairy." Trailer, keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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