The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Directed By: Peter Hedges

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

August is the anti-climactic part of the summer movie season.  Every year, we basically get the same thing.  We'll get a healthy dose of B movies, awful horror flicks, and one or two sappy films.  This year, one of those sappy movies is The Odd Life of Timothy Green.  Disney's latest syrupy concoction features a stellar cast that includes Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, Rosemarie DeWitt, David Morse, and Common.

Cindy and Jim Green (Garner & Edgerton) must face the tough reality that they are unable to biologically have a kid.  For whatever reason, it's just not going to happen.  When their doctor relays this unfortunate message, Cindy and Jim return to their home in Stanleyville to get back to work, deal with this, and move on with their lives.  There's just one catch.  They can't move on.  To help them cope with the situation, Jim convinces Cindy to help him describe their ideal child.  As they give this fictional child the best of themselves, they write this kid's defining attributes down on some note cards, place them in a wooden box, and bury this box in their garden.  There's a storm that same night, and a boy named Timothy (CJ Adams) mysteriously appears in the Green home shortly thereafter.

Filthy and stealthy, Timothy comes into the Green home unnoticed a first but quickly gets the attention of Jim and Cindy.  When they find him, they gradually discover that Timothy is a miraculous gift and that there are leaves on his legs. Now, the couple quickly jumps into the parenting game.  They introduce Timothy to their family.  They enroll him in school.  They even get him to join a soccer team despite the fact that he sucks and that Coach Cal (Common) is totally against it.  Cindy and Jim try to give Timothy the perfect childhood.  Along the way, they obviously make a few mistakes.  Cindy uses Timothy to compete with her sister Brenda (Rosemarie DeWitt) and her "talented" kids.  Jim uses him to scold his father (David Morse), who made plenty of mistakes of his own in raising Jim.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green is typical Disney fare.  It's sappy.  It's sentimental.  It's built to make you feel warm and fuzzy.  The viewers who go see a flick like this know what they've signed up for.  For the most part, the film gives them exactly what they came for.  With decent direction from Peter Hedges and somewhat touching performances from Garner, Edgerton, and Adams, the film builds a heartwarming core that's hard to deny.

That being said, The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a film that overestimates its own abilities to connect with viewers on an emotional level.  It's formulaic and predictable.  It's saccharine and, at times, overly sentimental.  It relies too heavily on cheesy music and Jennifer Garner's limited range as an actress.  These problems certainly don't kill this flick though.

Despite a few issues, The Odd Life of Timothy Green accomplishes what it needs to get done for its intended audience.  This one's not for everyone, and I'd definitely drink to that.  Have a few lemon drop martinis with this one.  The Odd Life of Timothy Green gets a 0.09% rating.