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Dan's Review: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Some people grow the strangest kids.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green (Disney)

Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief language.

Starring Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams, Odeya Rush, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Rosemarie DeWitt, David Morse, M. Emmet Walsh, Lois Smith,
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dianne Wiest, Ron Livingston, Common.

Written by Peter Hedges and Ahmet Zappa.

Directed by Peter Hedges.

GRADE: B-

REVIEW:


Ah, the perfect kid. Every parent thinks their kids fall into that category when comparing them to other people's kids, but forget about such stuff when it's time to clean their bedrooms. The pain of married couples who cannot conceive children is something I'll never know, but I feel compassion for those who wish to bear their own offspring, but can't. A childless couple's struggles to become parents is the setting for The Odd Life of Timothy Green, a new film coming from Disney this week.

Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton play Cindy and Jim Green a couple who have run out of biological options to conceive their own kids. To fight their despair, Cindy and Jim make a list of all the traits they want in their future child, and bury the list inside a box that they bury in their garden.

In the middle of the night, a boy springs up from the garden and enters their lives as the Green's son, named Timothy. At first, the Green family has a tough time explaining where Timothy came from to their close relatives, but just about everyone accepts the new boy who possesses all the great characteristics Cindy and Jim wished for. Timothy's only flaw is the presence of several leaves that grow on his shins, which his parents keep covered with long tube socks.

As Timothy integrates into the lives of Cindy and Jim, he also attends school and interacts with his parent's extended families. He also joins the boy's soccer team and befriends a shy girl named Joni (Odeya Rush). Timothy is liked nearly everyone for his kind spirit and his sweet honesty. He helps smooth things over between Jim and his dad (David Morse) and brings laughter to an elderly uncle suffering from an illness.

In the mean time, the nearby pencil factory that employs Jim and most of the town is on the brink of closure, so Timothy inspires Cindy and Jim to develop a new kind of pencil made from leaves. Speaking of leaves, Timothy's "leg leaves" eventually begin to change in color and fall off, signaling a coming change in his very existence.

As Timothy's leaves continue to fall, Jim and Cindy's relationships with their families change, as to they - realizing that being a good parent doesn't mean you need a perfect kid.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a film that lives up to its name - odd, indeed. If you can suspend reality enough to accept that a kid could grow from a garden, The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a sweet and heartwarming tale that most families can enjoy. It certainly helped be remember what I love about my kids, and might help potential adoptive parents a little peace, too.

If it seems Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner have played adoptive parents before, you'd be right, since Joel played a young Uncle Owen in the Star Wars prequels and Garner played a similar role in Juno. Either way, their performances are adequate for a story that leans heavily on the sappy stuff.

Speaking of the story, it was conceived by none other than Ahmet Zappa, the son of the late Frank Zappa. That would explain the heavy reliance on all things earthy and green - then again, maybe someone likes leaves.


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