Dwayne Johnson: The New King of Kid Movies?

With his tough guy fantasy Tooth Fairy premiering January 22, and Planet 51, Race to Witch Mountain and The Game Plan already behind him, Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson seems to be following in the fleet footsteps of Eddie Murphy and Tim Allen -- toward eternal kid-movie superstardom.

Johnson is no stranger to kids on the small screen either. He's appeared on Disney's Cory in the House and Wizards of Waverly Place and hosted Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards back in March. 

In Tooth Fairy, Johnson plays Derek Thompson, a vicious hockey player who's sentenced to a week of duty as a Tooth Fairy to make up for his bad behavior. I'm sure the original Hollywood pitch went something like this: "The Rock meets Abby Cadabby."

While wearing the kid movie crown has rewards in throngs of pint-sized fans, pointless Kids Choice Award nominations, and creepy plastic likeness in happy meals across America, the question is: Will The Artist Formerly Known As the Rock be able to go back to grown-up movies? He's come a long way since Scorpion King.

In truth, unlike Allen and Murphy, Johnson has a look that will guarantee action roles across the spectrum. Also unlike Allen and Murphy, he doesn't have a string of bombs in his resume... yet. So his script-choosing tactics may be more complicated than just following the money.

I'd expect Johnson to lay off kids' films for a while and re-establish his rep -- and his range -- in a few grown-up flicks. That may depress kids who were just getting used to having their own pet Rock, but not to worry. I suspect Dwayne Johnson, the movie star, will be around for as long as scripts call for a hulk-like macho man with a hidden heart of gold.

In other words, long after they stop believing in tooth fairies.

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