I wanted to love “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”, I really did. With adorable, funny Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton at the helm and tear-jerk, family heartbreak movie director, Peter Hedges (What’s eating Gilbert Grape; Pieces of April) behind the scenes there was everything in place for an instant family classic. However, The Odd Life of Timothy Green just seemed to try too hard and never really caught the ride stride between drama and comedy. A saving grace was the cinematography beautifully pulling in all things garden related. There are some stunning shots of lush orange, gold and green fall landscapes and a particularly beautiful scene where Cindy finds Timothy’s garden creations, a scene reminiscent of The Secret Garden.
The story – Cindy (Jennifer Garner) and Jim Green (Joel Edgerton) have been told that they will never have biological children. To help say goodbye to their wish of a child they write down all the characteristics of their dream love child, put the papers in a box and quite literally bury it in the garden after a quite sitcom-y scene of wine drinking and fantasizing about the perfect child. The next morning, by some stroke of wonderful Disney magic (think Jack and the magic beans) the very child they described shows up, running buck naked through their house (tracking dirt everywhere – which btw, my Mother would have whipped me for). Timothy Green (CJ Adams) is without a doubt Cindy and JIm’s child. CJ Adams as Timothy Green is charming as heck, but after the second time he raised his arms to the sky in attempts to photosynthesize I couldn’t help feel frustrated with the lackluster way of showcasing the themes of Timothy’s “special-ness”- which also seemed to be a not so subtle lesson about the differences between a parents’ love for an adopted child and a biological one.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green deals with Cindy and Jim adjusting to being parents, and good ones at that. Jim strives to be nothing like his unsupportive father (David Morse). Overprotective Cindy, attempts to hideTimothy’s leaves from the world while those of us well adjusted Disney story line pros, roll our eyes at the upcoming “ just be true to yourself” storyline. At times The Odd Life of Timothy Green seems to be confused at the line between drama and comedy, never really getting a handle on either side. The middle of the film deals with Jim’s job and confuses me as to the audience for the film. Is this a grown-up fairytale? A family friendly flick? I’m never quite sure.