Sometimes in life, it seems as if miracles are needed in order for things to work in our favor. That's probably why the average person feels such a rush of excitement and satisfaction whenever what seems like a miracle goes our way. Whenever these unforeseen events work in our favor, we have a chance to capitalize on them and maybe even learn from them. That's what the couple in The Odd Life of Timothy Green have the chance to do.
Jim and Cindy Green (Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner) have tried as hard as they could to have their first child. It hasn't happened for them yet and it looks as if it never will once doctors basically tell them that it's impossible. So after finally giving up on their dream one night, the couple decides to draw up what they would want as a child. Little do they know, that their dream will become a reality in the form of a miracle when ten year old Timothy (CJ Adams) comes from nowhere. The two accept him as their own and his magical emergence in their lives will give them more than they or anyone else could have bargained for.
The Green's don't come from the most stable of backgrounds family wise and believe that they're not necessarily fit to be parents themselves. Well, after the arrival of Timothy, the Green's are given a crash course on how to be good parents and they make quite a few mistakes during this journey. We see how they handle having a child, but we also get a glimpse of how they'll interact with others during this process. They have to teach Timothy how to deal with things that the average kid has to put up with while also trying not to be to overprotective and overbearing.
While the underlying story in The Odd Life of Timothy Green is about these two people who desperately want to be parents getting an unlikely miracle dropped right at their doorstep, it actually ends up being about more than that. It develops into something that's not only about their journey as would be parents, but it's also about how people can touch the lives of others and about how each of us can change and improve ourselves. They use plenty of characters to emphasize these points and in some way, most of it is caused by Timothy Green's appearance in this small town.
It's a completely positive and upbeat film that steers on the side of being a lesson teacher for youngsters who wish to pay attention. It's a flick that's sentimental and introspective while remaining kid safe even through the topics lack absentee parents and infertility. I don't even think they ever use those words in the movie now that I think about it, but that shouldn't come as a surprise due to the fact that this is a Disney film.
There aren't too many negatives to speak of, but the ones that I did notice are harmful to the film as a whole. For starters, the tone of the film is even keel and flat. There's never the amount of juice that you come to expect in a movie for kids. There should be a certain amount of vitality or spirit in The Odd Life of Timothy Green, but it's missing through basically all of it. Even the larger and more significant events in the movie don't get you out of your seat like you might hope.
I think some of that can be connected to the predictability of the story and some of the usual stuff that's in here. You have guys like the father (David Morse) of Edgerton's character who's basically been a bad parent throughout his time as a parent, the military like coach for a kids soccer team, the intimidating and hard nosed boss and even have the normal sibling rivalry between adult sisters. Most of this stuff is recognizable and in some ways lead to the predictability that I'm talking about.
One of the other reasons why The Odd Life of Timothy Green is so flat and lacks the usual authentic feel is because of its adult actors. You have to realize that actors like Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, Common and David Morse have never really been in any kids movies and that's quite obvious once you start watching the film. Many of these adult characters in The Odd Life of Timothy Green are too bubbly and/or too into it. For me, that created some kind of emotional disconnect, because it makes it seem even less believable.
Many of these actors are overacting and they all kind of felt like they were lowering themselves to childlike levels at times because of it. Based on their performances, they all seem to know that they are in a movie for children and as a result, some of these adult actors seem to be over eager in wanting to portray that for the audience. The style that's used in these cases would be equal to someone talking to people of all ages in a baby voice. That wouldn't go over well with people over the age of four and it certainly wouldn't work for us adults... well, at least for most of us.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a movie that I think most would probably want to like and in terms of its messages and a few of its characters, there are plenty of things too like about it. While watching it, you may even find yourself rooting for many of the characters to accomplish their goals in life. It has its heart in the right place and its easy to get behind some of the characters and where their lives might be heading, but the movie itself never allows you to become fully engaged in what's taking place. That's what hurts it the most and it doesn't allow for it to be as good as it could have been.
Director: Peter Hedges
M. Emmet Walsh
Film Length: 125 minutes
Release Date: August 15, 2012
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures