The Root of ‘Bad Art’ – ‘Return of the Tooth Fairy’

In exploring the appreciation of ‘bad art’ John Dyck and Matt Johnson discuss a ‘lack of intentionality’ as a crucial element in understanding our attraction to awfully good films, as the authors state:


‘the lack of intentionality makes this bizarreness unexplainable, in a way, and thus seductive; we simply can’t turn away. As Walton says, we are awed by how the thing failed despite the creator’s intentions.’(1)

The creators intention is an important and defining aspect of ‘so bad it’s good cinema’ because of ‘the clash between an artwork’s intended effect and its actual effect’ and the apparent ‘artistic failure’ involved. As opposed to intentionally funny content like parody, ‘so bad it’s good’ cinema confronts the viewer with a confusion concoction of near misses in regard to dialogue, acting and most other filmic elements that lead to what Dyck and Johnson propose as a ‘bizarre’ attraction.

When considering this ‘bizarre’ attraction I initially remembered a previous viewing experience I had endured. I had spent a good hour searching for something to watch and had finally settled for ‘Return of the Tooth Fairy’ (Louisa Warren 2020) the choice was based solely on the thumbnail and the lack of will to continue searching. ‘Return of the Tooth Fairy’ was almost impressively awful in every way, clearly had a budget south of the cost of a packet of Space Raiders and in these respects, is a prime example of the bizarre, discussed by Dyck and Johnson. The film achieves this unintentional bizarre quality by missing its intended mark by a substantial distance and as Dyck and Johnston continue that:

‘Given failed intentions in good-bad art, works that are intended to produce one effect often produce a different, opposite effect. There is a clash between. And this clash makes those works particularly bizarre.’(2)

The decision to buy a rubber mask from Poundland with shiny polyester white hair and use it as the main feature for your film’s ‘scary’ antagonist, is comically bizarre. Because of this ‘artistic failure’ ‘The Return of the Tooth Fairy’ achieves the complete molar opposite of its intended tone and therefore comical.




(1) John Dyck and Matt Johnson, ‘Appreciating Bad Art’ In The Journal of Value Inquiry, 279-292. Springer Science+ Business Media, 2017



John Dyck and Matt Johnson, ‘Appreciating Bad Art’ In The Journal of Value Inquiry, 279-292. Springer Science+ Business Media, 2017


‘Toothfairy 2’ – Louisa Warren 2020, ITN Movies.

One comment

  1. When the film has no purpose, no story, no intention, it makes us question why we are even watching it? However, this can produce what you mention, an opposite effect where the purpose of the film is so far gone, and so absurd, you can’t help but laugh.

Leave a Reply