FILM FANS: 'The Odd Life' is ... odd, yet sweet

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: "The Odd Life of Timothy Green." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

2 stars out of 4

Bring the hankies: you're going to need 'em. Director Peter Hedges presents "The Odd Life of Timothy Green," a poignant tale of a boy who is birthed mysteriously from the garden of Cindy and Jim Green.

The Greens, portrayed by the ever-lovely Jennifer Garner and the scruffily handsome Joel Edgerton, are desperate to have a child of their own. One night before bed (after learning that they will not be able to conceive a child in the traditional way), Jim and Cindy decide to fantasize about the various qualities they'd like their child to possess; they write them down on little pieces of paper and place them in a wooden box, which they bury in their garden.

The next thing they know, a child appears who tells them his name is Timothy. But Timothy is definitely not of this world; he reveals that he has small leaves growing out the lower part of his legs. After a whirlwind of events, the Greens begin to settle in to being a family, managing to keep Timothy's secret under wraps by having him wear very long socks.

The plot unfolds at a good pace, and there are several funny moments. But at times it tries too hard to get us to feel or to cry through some over-sentimentalized moments and negative societal stereotypes. This PG-rated Disney release aims to inspire, but this reviewer left with mixed feelings about it. "The Odd Life" is a tearjerker in the truest sense and is probably best-suited for those 12 and up.

-- Paul Tate, Sugar Hill

3 and 1/2 stars out of 4

This was a sweet and cute and imaginative movie starring the talented Jennifer Garner as Cindy Green. She and her husband, Jim (played beautifully by Joel Edgerton), have been actively trying to have a child with no results, much to their despair. One night, they make a wish list of their potential child's qualities and put it in a special box in their garden. What follows makes for a very enjoyable and emotional film.

Timothy, who shows up as a delightful surprise, is played by the very likeable C.J. Adams. There are many good scenes about navigating through being a new parent and going on the journey with Timothy as he begins to lose his leaves. To not risk spoiling any plot developments, I will just say I recommend you seeing it on the big screen with your family.

-- Cindy Evans, Duluth

2 stars out of 4

Among the usual dead-on-arrival movies released during the traditional August dumping ground is an innocuous little gem called "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" from Disney.

Childless couple Jim and Cindy Green (Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner) have yearned to have a child, only to be told for the umpteenth time by their fertility doctor that they cannot conceive.

Amid the inevitable heartbreak and tears, and to help them to "move on," the Greens decide to write down the attributes and qualities that their child would possess. They take the slips of paper, place them in a wooden box and bury the box in their garden. That night, in the middle of a choking drought, a miraculous rain falls only on their property; when it is done, they find 10-year-old Timothy (C.J. Adams) in their house covered in dirt. It would seem that their dreams have come true ... but Timothy is not all he seems to be.

The rest of the movie tells of Greens adjusting to having Timothy as their "adopted" child, and the inevitable pratfalls and discomforts they encounter while raising a child who at times seems to be very well tuned in, and at other times completely clueless.

This is a sweet, but odd, flick. The opening scenes are pretty emotional, and will hit a nerve with anyone who has tried to have children but cannot. Most of the time I watched the film, I felt like this would have made an pretty good TV movie, especially for Lifetime Movie Network (testosterone alert to my racquetball buddies: I do NOT watch LMN). It is full of symbolism and the message appears to be that the Greens were gifted with Timothy in preparation of a greater event to happen. It just doesn't quite work as a full-length cinema experience.

-- Tim Weekley, Suwanee