Disney brings enchantment home with THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN, an inspiring, magical story for the whole family starring Jennifer Garner. Cindy (Garner) and Jim Green are a happily married couple who can’t wait to start a family but can only dream about what their child would be like. When young Timothy shows up on their doorstep one stormy night, Cindy and Jim — and their small town of Stanleyville — learn that sometimes the unexpected can bring some of life’s greatest gifts. From Academy Award(R)-nominated director/writer Peter Hedges (ABOUT A BOY, Best Adapted Screenplay, 2002; DAN IN REAL LIFE; WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE) — and complete with engaging bonus features — it’s a heartwarming celebration of family as only Disney can deliver.
To purge their grief at failing to conceive, Cindy (Jennifer Garner) and Jim (Joel Edgerton, Animal Kingdom) write down all the attributes they wish for in a child, put them in a box, and bury them in the garden. That night, a boy smeared with dirt, with leaves sprouting from his legs, appears in their house and says his name is Timothy. Thus begins a fable that’s sort of about uniqueness and conformity, as Timothy’s magical nature proceeds to hearten the lives of everyone he encounters–including a young girl with her own secret, the stern woman who owns their town’s pencil factory (Dianne Wiest), and Jim’s gruff, emotionally distant dad (David Morse, The Green Mile). What the movie is really about is Cindy and Jim learning to be better parents by working through their own childhood issues (Cindy always felt overshadowed by her sister; Jim felt abandoned by his father). But even that is half-baked; almost all problems are solved by simple exposure to Timothy’s irrepressible sunny nature, not by anyone actually doing anything. Timothy himself, despite the sweetness of young actor CJ Adams, never becomes a genuine character and not a plot device. Still, the actors are charming, the movie’s visual gloss is very pretty, and The Odd Life of Timothy Green somehow maintains just enough awareness of life’s difficulties to keep from being unbearably cloying. –Bret Fetzer