A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner!
Directed by Savage Steve Holland
Written by Butch Hartman & Scott Fellows
When A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner! was first announced as a live-action feature film, it sounded like it would be terrible. Who needed yet another live action film for a cartoon? Haven’t we suffered enough? But, Grow up, Timmy Turner! instead turned out to be a good surprise, keeping the tone of the cartoon while delving into raging manchild territory with a plot so off the walls that it is brilliant. And yes, that means I liked it very much. I’m shocked, shocked, I tell you! Who knew that I would end up enjoying what appeared to be a terrible Disney Channel-type film? But Grow Up, Timmy Turner is much more than that, it’s fun, and sort of has a message about the need to grow up and move on with your life buried beneath the wacky antics of the hijinks that ensue.
For those of you out of the loop, The Fairly Oddparents is a cartoon series about a child named Timmy Turner’s fairly godparents who grant him wishes, and all the adventures that entails. The series’ bizarro humor helped earn it a cult following among more than little kids, with viewers of all ages tuning in. There has been sporadic tv-movie specials for The Fairly Oddparents, though this is the first live-action special.
Grow Up, Timmy Turner continues the same basic plot, except Timmy is now 23 years old, still in the same grade at school, still living at home, and still not grown up, because being grown up loses you your fairy godparents. It’s in the rules, trust us, they break out the rules to read during the movie!
Cameos from the cartoon show up all over the place. Jorgen Von Strangle (Mark Gibbon), the strongest fairy and the boss of all fairies, appears repeatedly throughout the film to threaten Timmy. He’s an obvious Arnold Schwarzenegger parody. Timmy’s childhood friend Chester McBadBat and A.J. (Chris Anderson and Jesse Reid) appear sporadically as adults assuming the still-childlike Timmy is jealous of their “successes”, though the successes are never elaborated on.
Director Savage Steve Holland was an 80s genius with such classic films as Better Off Dead, One Crazy Summer, and How I Got Into College. He got into tv with The New Adventures of Beans Baxter and the Encyclopedia Brown series on HBO, but his greatest television creation was Eek! the Cat (and accompanying cartoons.) He’s since been making a living directing episodes of family fare tv series, making him perfect for this film packed with Nickelodeon teens.
It’s Timmy Turner’s 23rd birthday! His fairy godparents give him a gift – a sword – for the pirate sword battle! So an actual pirate ship rams into the bedroom and out jump some pirates who Timmy fights. Super fairy Jorgen Von Strangle shows up in his room to yell at Timmy Turner for still having fairy godparents and vows to force Timmy to lose them. The only possible out is if Timmy finds love, but Timmy has no interest in anyone romantically. Jorgen will show up occasionally to try to hit Timmy with Cupid Arrows, only to miss his target every time and cause wacky love obsessions.
Timmy’s parents give him the not-so-subtle gifts of want ads and apartment rentals. Their dreams of selling the house and going on a vacation around the world are dashed when Timmy wishes away their home’s sale, preventing their exit strategy. After a cameo from Timmy’s former babysitter (who now runs a day care center and is as unpleasant as ever), Timmy’s at school, where the teacher Mr. Crocker is still screaming about fairy godparents and how he’s going to kidnap them one day. But after wishing the atomic runs on Mr. Crocker, school is let out early.
Timmy spots a hot girl and crashes his bike right where the mayor and businessman Hugh J. Magnate are announcing how Magnate’s going to make the town rich by ripping up the park and replacing it with a polluting oil well hotel. The hot girl Timmy spotted earlier objects to this wanton evilry, and chains herself to a tree. She also mentions that her name is Tootie, which causes a spittake from Timmy and godparents family, as when he last saw her, she was that annoying little girl he thought was gross.
Hugh J Magnate decides murdering Tootie in front of a huge crowd is a smart play, and sends a bulldozer to knock the tree over with Tootie still chained to it. Timmy stops them, and stops the chainsaw men sent afterwards and proceeds to embarrass Hugh J. Magnate through a goat eating his pants. That’s why you should wear goat-resistant pants!
Mr. Crocker contacts Hugh J. Magnate to meet and discuss the events of the day, revealing the existence of the fairies. Magnate is skeptical at first, but goes along with it because there isn’t another explanation. Crocker has developed a device to capture the fairies.
Timmy begins spending time with Tootie, much to the chagrin of his fairy godparents. We get the standard dating tropes: double bikes, smoothies, picnics, and kites. On a dinner date, the fairy godparents decide the only way to keep love from happening is to go all live-action and ruin the date. Thus, they turn into Jason Alexander and Cheryl Hines! They proceed to dump food all over Tootie. An upset Timmy wishes her clean, then also uses his wishes to fix up the old park, making it a clean and beautiful place once again. This magical day spent with her in the tree in the park is the type of thing of fairy tales, and just as Timmy looks to be leaning in for a kiss (which if you remember, means the fairy godparents go back to Fairyland), he’s distracted by Wanda and falls out of the tree. Timmy can’t tell Tootie why he’s acting weird, and she storms off.
It’s kidnapping time, as Tootie is then grabbed by Hugh J. Magnate and his creepy evil bunny. Seriously, this is the creepiest bunny ever, even creepier than that Donnie Darko bunny. The fairy godparents are sucked into Mr. Crocker’s fairy godparent kidnapping machine and now they are kidnapped as well! Timmy is told what happened to Tootie by some of his friends, and then realizes his fairy godparents are MIA as well, so he steals a motorcycle to go rescue them.
Hugh J. Magnate’s underground lair is filled with creepy child circus artifacts and amusement park rides. He’s yet another manchild, this one trying to recapture his lost childhood instead of never ending his. It’s a total opposite manchild philosophy, and when two polar opposite manchildren get together, sparks will fly!
Mr. Crocker build a machine to force the fairies to grant wishes, and Hugh J. Magnate wishes for a bottomless ball pit…and then tosses Mr. Crocker into it! The fairies will be drained of their lifeforce the more wishes happen…until they die. Magnate also gets a dancing cyborg, which is then used to shoot at Timmy, who has broken into the building on a rescue mission.
Timmy must save Tootie, who has broken out of her cage and is in danger from robot lasers (a serious danger I face all of the time.) Magnate drops the fairy remote control, buying time (and explaining why there is any drama in the first place instead of him just wishing Timmy into a basketball!) Timmy Turner stops the robot, and kisses Tootie to save the fairies from their cage. For now that Timmy has grown up and is in love, the fairies are nt bound to him and are free, giving them the ability to escape from the fairy cage and escape.
A defeated Magnate is left alone with his toys.
Jorgen Von Strangle and the Fairy Council create…the Timmy Turner Loop-hole! Timmy gets to keeps the fairies, but only if the wishes he makes are to help others. So Timmy, Tootie, and the Fairy Godparents set out to save the world, one wish at a time.
And also there’s a terrible Randy Jackson voice cameo out of nowhere. But forget about that, and let’s end on Timmy, Tootie, and the Fairy Godparents set out to save the world, one wish at a time.
Grow Up, Timmy Turner is a film about maturity. Not just being mature, but moving on with life and becoming a full human being. Timmy’s character is stuck in an idealized version of his youth, which causes pain for his parents and their desires to move on to the next phase in their lives. Timmy’s Fairy Godparents are stuck in an obsessive attachment to the child they are supposed to nurture to adulthood, refusing to give up the task as Timmy grows older, and even being slightly disturbing in there obsession to be with him. Timmy’s teacher Mr. Crocker is another adult who hasn’t matured, he’s show still living with his mother, obsessing over the children in his class (especially Timmy and his fairy godparents), and wasting his electronic skills on petty scheming. Hugh J. Magnate is the ultimate manchild, for he was never able to be a child, and at adulthood attempted to recapture his lost youth with a world of playthings set in his evil lair. The chic de circus decorations both show the lost youth and warped adulthood in a single package. Magnate’s refusal to accept that he is now an adult consequentially causes him to lose everything. Timmy’s maturity to act selflessly with his wishes, to save his fairy godparents and to save Tootie are his movement into manhood. His acts of selflessness are rewarded by the ability to act even more selflessly and help many other people. With the great power of the fairies, comes great responsibility, and has shown he Timmy will be able to shoulder that burden well.
Rated 7/10 (No Orandas?, I have this iPhone app, assistant time, voice changing, mechanical dragonspy, robot stolen from kid, cgi appleworm)
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