The Odd Life of Timothy Green


The Odd Life of Timothy Green


2012
Story by Ahmet Zappa
Screenplay and directed by Peter Hedges

Burying this box made out of the bones of 100 sacrificed infants in our garden that used to be an old Indian burial plot won’t have any negative consequences, ever! Also Jumanji is in this box. For some reason.

A family film that is a great thing to bring your young children to, The Odd Life of Timothy Green won’t be earning much street cred from older viewers looking for a dark and sinister turn of a mysterious vegetable child who emerges from the garden of a childless couple to enhance their lives. The film is sugary sweet and mixes the trials of growing up different with the trials of being a parent. And I find Timothy Green guilty…of being enjoyable! Okay, sorry, that joke was awful. Before we continue, I must confess this was yet another free screening that I scored tickets to. In fact, The Odd Life of Timothy Green released so many free tickets and screenings it was hard not to get tickets. Now let’s meet the cast!

She has the magical powers of HGTV!

Cindy Green (Jennifer Garner) – Cindy Green works at a museum for the pencil factory and spends most of the film being various forms of neurotic and reserved. After Timothy enters her life, she trades that in for being more outgoing but also worried. It takes a while for the changes to sink in and transform her fully.
Jim Green (Joel Edgerton) – Working class husband and pencil factory supervisor working under the owner’s nephew. Has resentment issues over his own father not being there much while he was growing up. Both of the Greens carry added stress from being unable to conceive, which just multiplies their personal problems.
Timothy Green (CJ Adams) – A mysterious child who sprang from the garden and a box full of wishes for the fantasy child of the Greens. He’s very casual about the whole thing. Has leaves on his legs.
Joni Jerome (Odeya Rush) – Odd girl at school who has a secret, and instantly spots that Timothy does as well. The pair becomes very close, almost to the point where he spends more time with her than with his parents.
This is a happy movie!

No sort of unnatural monstrosity could ever happen at this house!

The Greens explain how they have all these set ideas for they’re children, how they will be all righteous and noble. Then when Timothy is actually there they do the complete opposite! The Greens are realistic characters, dealing with pressures from multiple sources. Parents who weren’t there, a sister who makes everything about how awesome her children are, economic uncertainty, failed attempts to get pregnant. The last is the almost fatal blow that nearly destroys them. But they refuse to let it kill them. And sometimes life has a few surprises.

Timothy Green emerges from their garden in a mysterious rain storm grown to around age 11, fully articulate. He’s already calling the Greens mom and dad. Though Timothy will act odd (gasp, the title!) and occasionally stand in the sun weird or fail to understand how to play sports correctly, that’s not why he’s there so it barely matters or registers. The only real oddity is the leaves on his legs, leaves that can’t be cut off and must be hid at all costs so he isn’t one of those kids everyone makes fun of.

Through Timothy the parents learn to come out of their shells and grow and be more creative and all those things that happens in films when someone comes in and teaches people to be more open and creative. The destination is all the same, it’s the journey that’s important. Weirdo plant kid or not, someone has to teach the Greens to get busy living or get busy dying. The flashback setup gives away the eventual fate of Timothy Green, which keeps the audience from becoming too smug from predicting the obvious. A few more things are tossed in to keep people off balance, but in general Odd Life is still pretty paint by the numbers.

Dirt Baby has come to ruin your white clothes!

It’s all simplified down for the family Disney feature audience. The film must be able to explain complex social problems for the adults and also have Timothy running around doing kid things for the children. The simplicity is part of the charm, and the biggest drag. The leaves as they fall when Timothy hits each of the notes the Greens made of their fantasy child is something that many viewers will pick up on far before it is plainly spelled out for the audience, but even the Greens fail to realize what is happening as Timothy just skips over the whole issue far longer than he should have. But then, both of the Greens are often caught up in their kid Timothy being so awesome and upshowing all their relatives that they miss out on some of the smaller things. Knowing what was going on would spoil their fun. But that also leads to questions. Does Timothy’s perfectness make the Greens inadequate to deal with a real child that won’t be magical and solve problems and inspire people? What if they get a kid that likes to eat dirt? Will they compare all potential adoptive children to Timothy, the new children living in constant disappointment that they can’t live up to a phantom magic child? That’s sort of unfair. Okay, it’s really unfair. Sucks to be you, Child #2!

The Odd Life of Timothy Green features fears of economic distress and factory closings solved by American innovation and know how, but also idea theft from the upper class and class warfare among the rich kid bullying Timothy in school (and being disappointed that he didn’t fight back!)

Cindy Green becomes more overbearing and nervous of a parent, especially when she’s overly concerned with Timothy spending time around his friend Joni to the point where it gets very bizzarre how much Cindy is concerned. Like most things, the matter becomes solved and Cindy learns to relax and to not sweat the small stuff. Her new found confidence is both good and bad for the family at times, but ultimately ends up a blessing.

I will not kill all the children with my horrible leaf powers! Only most.

I can’t let this review end without mentioning that Ahmet Zappa wrote the story. I also can’t not mention that Odd Life was filmed in the house that Halloween II was also filmed at. Which should make mash up videos very easy to do.

Odd Life is not so odd, the charms outweigh the negative issues. It’s inoffensive and amusing, that good kind of bland. While there are numerous areas that it could have been different, it still is satisfying. If you want some family fun, your wish can be granted. Just don’t bury the ticket stubs in the back yard. I’m not responsible if you live next to a Pet Semetary…

We are parenting with our parental skills as parents.

Rated 7/10 (leaf magic, how the Tin Man got his groove back, Gran from True Blood!, Boss like a boss, Bikin’, All too Common…, I’m with 0!!)


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And now, a song about Timothy Green’s odd life…

I’ve seen SyFy flicks that start this way….
Great, leaf kid is in love with a mermaid. Is this the new Twilight??
Why did someone leave the dying man alone with the mystery garden child???
Leaf Kid is behind bars where he belongs!
Is this The Odd Life of Timothy Green or a lost plot from The Suite Life of Zach and Cody???

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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!

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