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  Tooth Airy-Fairy
Year: 2004
Director: Edouard Nammour
Stars: Yasmin Paige, Rory Copus, Maisie Preston, Sally Phillips, Tim Dutton, Harry Enfield, Phyllida Law, Jim Broadbent, Stephen Fry, Richard E. Grant, Jerry Hall, Vinnie Jones, Anna Wing, Debbie Chazen, Patrick Monckton, Elizabeth McKechnie, Craig Parkinson
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: This is Tom (Rory Copus) and he's here to tell us of the adventure that happened last Christmas which nearly cancelled the festive season. Tom lived with his parents and sister, but times were hard and when his mother (Sally Phillips) tried to pay for the week's groceries, her card was rejected. On the other hand, little Tolly (Maisie Preston) lost her first tooth, and that night they placed it under her pillow so the Tooth Fairy could leave some money for her. Which brings us to the team who organised such things, as tonight Tolly is visited by Tooth (Yasmin Paige), a rebellious little fairy who does her duty, but the next time she has to show up there throws the whole system into chaos...

Here was a film that did not receive much of a warm welcome on its release, and went on to be judged harshly as one of the worst children's movies ever made, a pronouncement that many went along with. And yet, for others there were a small band of plucky fans who decided they weren't going to go with the received opinion and actually admitted to enjoying this, for it was nowhere near as bad as its reputation. In fact, it was bright and imaginative, and although perfection was not exactly well within its grasp, it was a decent enough entertainment for those looking for an an unassuming dollop of Christmas cheer.

True, it was not going to usurp It's a Wonderful Life as the best Yuletide movie any time soon, but all it had in its daft head was the aim to amuse, which it did if you overlooked some oddities in the production. One of the main bones of contention about this was that it was a British film posing as an American one, for no good reason apparent, so half the cast put on accents, some better than others. Paige and her younger co-stars coped admirably well with this burden, but Jim Broadbent supplying the voice of the man in a suit Easter Bunny was particularly egregious. Also, in spite of their best efforts, the Englishness of the setting was unmistakeable, leaving the plot in a weird limbo land for much of it.

So certainly forgetting about selling the film to the international market would have given it more of an identity, but there's no question Tooth was an example of British eccentricity in moviemaking. The whole Tooth Fairy myth is not one which stands up to much scrutiny, and hardly has much of a backstory to it, so what writer and director Edouard Nammour invented was a deliberately, comically mundane production line where complaining fairies went about their business with dutiful weariness, all except Tooth who is determined to shake things up when she gives Tom's family all the cash in the fairies' account. Now they are bankrupt and have to get their money back, which is easier said than done when bags of it are accidentally taken away in the rubbish - sorry, trash.

To complicate matters, and this is nothing if not busy, there's a paranormal investigator (Harry Enfield) on the trail of the fairies who wants to make his name with a big story, so in none too clearly explained plotting serves as our baddie, although other than getting a news story on the front of his favourite Weekly World News style tabloid it's hard to see what he'll be getting out of this. The guest stars dictate the shape of the film, with one sequence dedicted to each of them as Tooth, Tom and Tolly follow a map to find Mrs Santa Claus (Phyllida Law), encountering the likes of Richard E. Grant, Jerry Hall and Stephen Fry on the way. While this is never roll about on the floor hilarious, its enthusiasm for its subject, no matter how fuzzy brained it may be, will win over the less cynical, and if its moments of festive sincerity fall flat in comparison to the overall irreverence, then that's to be expected. Really, this was light and fun. Music by Guy Fletcher.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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