The Odd Life of Timothy Green | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

A sappy and somewhat incoherent fable about family, understanding and pencils


This is a Very Special Movie about a Very Special Boy who has Very Special Leaves growing out of his legs, and who helps a Very Special Town save its Very Special Pencil Factory. You can tell that Peter Hedges' tale hoped to be a winsome fable, another heartwarmer about the power of love, family, understanding and foliage. But it's simply a saccharine, poorly plotted mess that fails to build any emotional connection.

A childless couple (Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton) write a description of their dream child and bury it in a box in the garden. That very night, a child named Timothy (CJ Adams) emerges from the ground. Timothy is everything the two had hoped for — except for those leaves growing from his shins. There's no explanation for this corporeal manifestation among the tomatoes, nor does anybody in town question where a new kid — a weirdo one at that — just came from. But Timothy is all heart — even as he is secretly shedding his leaves — and his childlike innocence and sense of wonder make everybody in town a better person. (There's an E.T. vibe about Timothy, and for all I know, he showed up in the dirt from another planet.)

The story is told in the clunkiest way possible, with Garner and Edgerton relating this story in flashback at an adoption agency, and with every hamfisted cliché about factory towns, soccer games and musical performances you can imagine. All heavily underscored With Music to Make You Care — which, unless you have a really high tolerance for head-scratching, super-gooey whimsy, you probably won't.

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