An odd story that misses out on charm
Published 05/04/2013 | 18:00
Film Review: The Odd Life of Timothy Green (G, general release, 105 minutes) **
Director: Peter Hedges Stars: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams, Rosemarie DeWitt, Dianne Wiest
A misfiring and cloyingly sentimental family fantasy that aims for Frank Capra country and misses by a mile, The Odd Life of Timothy Green stars Jennifer Garner and Australian actor Joel Edgerton as a smalltown couple who are devastated when they're told they cannot have children.
Jim and Cindy Green have been trying to get themselves pregnant for a number of years when their doctor bluntly tells them it's time to jack it in.
Naturally enough, they go home and hit the bottle, write down everything they would have liked their kid to be, put it all in a tin box and bury it in the back garden.
In the aftermath of what was presumably a magical thunderstorm, a child grows out of the ground, and Jim and Cindy find him shivering in their bathroom.
Timothy (CJ Adams) is pleasant, elf-like and has an annoying habit of always telling the truth, but apart from the fact that he has leaves on his lower legs, looks and sounds normal.
Jim and Cindy are overjoyed, and announce to the world that they've adopted him.
But there's a problem: Timothy is a plant-like being with a seasonal lifecycle, which means of course there'll be tears come winter.
Peter Hedges' sloppy and mawkish film is neither funny nor charming enough to pull of the delicate conceit it unwisely attempts.
Timothy's existence is explained too half-heartedly, good character actors like David Morse and Rosemarie DeWitt are thrown away in the service of wafer-thin caricatures.
Meanwhile, Garner and Edgerton seem very ill at ease playing a ghastly and indigestibly wholesome couple.