If you’re easily pleased with sugary-sweet and sentimental flicks, then The Odd Life of Timothy Green is perfect for you. Because apart from that, what’s left is a predictable tale that tries too hard to tug at your heartstrings.
Directed and co-written by Peter Hedges (the other writer was Ahmet Zappa), the film stars Cindy (Jennifer Garner) and Jim Green (Joel Edgerton), a happily married couple who dream of starting a family but are told by the doctor that they aren’t able to. Trying to recover from this news, the couple write a list of wishes for the child they dream of having such as bravery, honesty, big-hearted-ness and the ability to score the winning goal. Thus putting the traits in a box and burying it in their garden, something magical and crazy ensues. When a young boy named Timothy (CJ Adams) mysteriously arrives at their doorstep after a stormy night, the couple take him as their son and ultimately learn the joys of having a family.
Centered around the importance of familial relationships, this fairy tale is excessively sappy and just plain bizarre. Timothy’s arrival obviously elicits speculation. But after a small explanation by the Greens, the rest of their small community doesn’t seem to question his existence. In fact despite his socially-awkward demeanour and the weird leaves growing around his ankles, he’s perfect in every way. As he warms up to almost everyone he meets, it’s almost as if the audience is expected to play along with the characters in the film who act like his appearance is anything but strange.
Garner and Edgerton work very hard to play loving and concerned parents, but their performances are rather annoying and smothering as they try to impress one-dimensional characters such as Jim’s stern father (David Morse) and Cindy’s pompous and competitive sister (Rosemarie DeWitt) through Timothy.
However, what is impressive is Adams’ performance as the sweet-natured Timothy. Charmingly and expressively played, it is hard to find him unlikeable amongst the film’s bland characters because he just seems so lovable and cute. But like much of the film’s plot, it is questionable how his character seems to hold much wisdom beyond his years. Unlike many 10-year-olds, he’s mature and self-sufficient. So much so, that he has the confidence to creepily draw a portrait of Cindy’s unsympathetic boss (Dianne Wiest) as she lets her hair down and stares almost seductively towards the boy. In fact, this is the strangest scene in the movie as it is oddly reminiscent to the famous sketching scene in Titanic.
Overtly schmaltzy and predictable, it also isn’t a surprise that the Blu-Ray extras include touching featurettes such as This is Family and The Gift of Music about how the film was made.
But given that this is a typical Disney film about love and family values, those who are easily satisfied and touched will be satiated with this film during a lazy afternoon.
(A mildly-edited version of this has been published on Exclaim!. I’m sure people are being trolls, but I have been told that this sounds like “a 12-year-old on her period.” If there is anything I can change, please let me know. I am very accepting to criticism, especially for my writing. But if you haven’t noticed, this movie was REALLY not my cup of tea.)