Disney’s The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a heartwarming and enchanting tale about childless couple Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) who one day find the offspring of their dreams on their doorstep in the middle of a storm.
Timothy (CJ Adams) is everything the Greens want him to be – which isn’t surprising given he’s grown from a box containing a list of their perfect child’s attributes which they buried at the foot of the garden.
As the couple come to terms with finally being parents, they confront their own complex and unhappy relationships with their own parents and siblings. Along the way they also get a lesson or two in how parental expectations of offspring don’t always work out as hoped.
For his part Timothy, marked out from his classmates by the presence of leaves on his ankles, has some valuable lessons for his new parents and the residents of the small town they live in.
Directed and co-written by Peter Hedges, The Odd Life of Timothy Green asks the audience to take a similar leap of imagination as Meet Joe Black and believe that magical things can happen even in the modern everyday world.
The film’s rural, small town location feels like a wise concession to the story’s simplicity – it’s impossible to imagine this very classic Disney film working in a big city setting.
Garner and Edgerton turn in largely likeable performances, though their characters at times exhibit a little too much entitlement to parenthood, and Adams more than holds his own opposite the adult cast members.
Watch out too for Diane Wiest in a scene-stealing turn as the town’s local dragon lady with a deeply concealed heart.
Overall this is a nicely timed, well executed film about families and a desire to love, but where it falls down is in not daring to withhold the happy ending the audience will be expecting.
Whereas Mrs Doubtfire bravely showed that not all couples work out their difficulties, The Odd Life of Timothy Green finds itself unable to resist suggesting all wannabe parents eventually get to realise their ambitions.
That denial of reality ultimately detracts from what is otherwise an enjoyable celebration and exploration of family life.
Our verdict: 3/5
The Odd Life of Timothy Green is in cinemas Friday 5th April.