‘The Odd Life Of Timothy Green’
By MICHAEL WALTERS
“The Odd Life Of Timothy Green” seems like a relic from a bygone era; a classic example of what a live action “Disney Movie” used to be like. It’s a family-friendly story with a touch of magic that parents can take their kids to and not worry about running into anything the least bit offensive. It could have aired on “The Wonderful World Of Disney” and fit right in without a hitch. And that’s both its strength and its weakness.
Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton are a childless couple at a dead end in their attempts to have a baby. One night, over a bottle of wine, they write down their hopes and wishes for what they want in a child and bury them in a box in the garden. Overnight, the child of their dreams sprouts up. He seems like a normal 10-year-old — except for those leaves sprouting from his ankles.
Timothy, as played by CJ Adams, wears the same wide eyed expression throughout the movie. Whatever the scene, his expression rarely changes. They say some movie kids have dozens of “looks,” He seems to have found one and stuck with it. To be fair, he’s not much of a character, merely a reflection of innocence with a touch of quirk. But Adams doesn’t do much to make him any more than the outline he is. That said, he’s not egregiously awful. And he doesn’t distract from the heavy lifting going on around him.
Garner and Edgerton make a charming pair. They perfectly capture the enthusiasm and pride of new parents cooing over their new child’s smallest accomplishments. The way they beam when their child finally gets put into a soccer game is just right. But they also seem to enjoy the opportunity to make mistakes, because that’s what being a parent is all about.
However, the plot surrounding them also seems to have been imported from the lazy screenwriter’s big book of scenarios (1972 edition). Edgerton works at the town pencil factory and it’s on the brink of bankruptcy. Garner works in a pencil museum with a scolding upper class Dianne Wiest looking down her nose at her. So their young sprout Timothy suggests his parents should create a new kind of pencil to save the factory. They do this by making a pencil out of leaves. In a movie about a boy that magically sprouts from the ground, this is the one thing that stretches incredulity to the breaking point.
“The Odd Life Of Timothy Green” is hard to dislike, but hard to recommend too. It simply never gives us enough reasons to justify its presence on the big screen. While nostalgia may have created some warm feelings for those old Disney movies, the dirty secret is that most of them weren’t very good (with of couple of exceptions such as “The Absent Minded Professor.”) “Timothy Green” never manages to be a classic, but this will be a fine way to spend a rainy afternoon when it arrives on the Disney channel.