'Timothy Green' makes family time fun

Thursday, January 3, 2013
Disney's "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" starring Jennifer Garner, CJ Adams (center) and Joel Edgerton is an overall good time that the whole family can enjoy.

Sometimes in the critic game you find yourself standing at odds with the rest of the brethren. I've had my fair share of those movies over the years and this year is no exception. Some flicks slip unnoticed under your radar and are a complete surprise when you find them.

So is the case with Disney "The Odd Life of Timothy Green."

The story of a young couple and their struggle to have a child until one day when their perfect child literally pops into their lives was panned by most critics. The overall impression was the film was too sugary sweet for most, but that's what makes this film a winner in my book.

The film begins with Jim Green (Joel Edgerton) and his wife Cindy (Jennifer Garner) in a final interview to adopt a child. Instead of using their time to show why they think they would be good parents, they instead decide to tell their tale of Timothy.

After receiving the worst news they could imagine of not being able to conceive a child, Jim and Cindy begin the grieving process and try to find a way to move beyond it.

That night, the duo break out the wine and make a wish list of their perfect child, put them in a box and then bury in the garden in an attempt to move on. A thunderstorm hits their house that night and they are surprised to find a young boy inside their house covered in mud. The boy looks like a normal child, except for the fact his lower legs are adorned with green leaves.

As the "Odd Life" progresses, Timothy (CJ Adams) turns out to the real-life embodiment of Jim and Cindy's ideal child. His parent watch as Timothy navigates his new world with ease and relish the fact they are growing as a family. He even finds a girl, Joni (Odeya Rush), who learns of his secret leaves and embraces him for who he is.

But as things look good on the outside, Timothy has a secret -- he's losing his leaves. And as one can expect, that isn't a good thing.

Things in his parent's lives are not going well either. His mother loses her job and his father works at a floundering pencil-making factory that's on the verge of closing its doors. In a stroke of genius, Timothy inspires his parent to work together to make a new pencil that could resurrect the factory.

With his final leaf hanging on, his parent's secret of their child is exposed when the factory's head honcho Franklin Crudstaff (Ron Livingston) takes credit for the Green's pencil idea in a town hall meeting after Timothy takes to the mic to defend his father.

As the world finally begins to accept Timothy, it's his time to go. But it's just the beginning for his parents who have proven to themselves how wonderful of parents they can be. Now it all comes down to whether or not the case adoption worker believes in Timothy.

I found "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" to be a wonderful little movie the entire family could enjoy. It's a sweet and honest movie that shows that is OK to be different if you have a great heart. It also address the heartbreak and anguish couples go through who can't have a child of their own.

Garner and Edgerton give wonderful performances at Jim and Cindy Green as did Livingston as Jim's slimy boss Franklin. But it is Adams that steals the show. Adams' performance is so effortless for a young actor and demonstrates that sometimes less is more.

The best aspect of the story is it reminds us that even the best things in life are fleeting. Enjoy them while you have them and don't take a single moment for granted.

The oddest thing about "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" is that the story concept came from Frank Zappa's son, Ahmet. Writer/Director Peter Hedges, whose previous work includes "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" and "About a Boy," does a good job of keeping everything moving at a nice pace. The movie doesn't suffer from the second act slowdown most family films do.

Final Cut: "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" is a sweet Disney offering that is an all-around family film. With wonderful performance by its leads, the film packs a powerful emotional punch. Definitely worth a watch.

4 out of 5 stars

"The Odd Life of Timothy Green"

Starring: Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Garner, CJ Adams, Odeya Rush, Ron Livingston

Director: Peter Hedges

Writer: Peter Hedges

Running Time: 104 minutes