The Odd Life of Timothy Green Blu-ray Review
Imagine (figuratively, of course) that someone had a giant ball of emotion and sappiness and was cramming it unwillingly down your throat for 105 minutes without ever giving you a chance to catch your breath. That’s what it’s like watching Disney’s THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN. The film is so obsessed with trying to make the audience cry and go “awwwwww” that it abandons every other aspect of the story and leaves the audience going “ugggghhhhhh”.
Jim and Cindy Green (Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner) are a perfect, loving couple that for some unknown reason, can’t physically have a kid. In an effort to move past their heartbreak, they make a list of everything they want in a kid and put it in a box, which they proceed to bury in the backyard. Later that night, they wake up and find Timothy (CJ Adams) in their house. Right off the bat, the audience is asked to “just go with it” and accept that there’s no creepy element here and that the kid is clearly a manifestation of the list they made. We also have to accept that everyone that encounters the kid (friends, family, coworkers, etc.) is okay that the kid seemingly manifested from thin air. The kid also has leaves growing out of his legs, which I assumed that as they fell off, they would represent someone he helps, but that turned out to only be kind of true.
Most movies ask the audience to take a leap of faith and accept something supernatural is going on, but even if you give THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN the benefit of the doubt, you’re still going to run into some problems. The sappiness is extra thick and director Peter Hedges lays it on relentlessly. Everything is supposed to have deeper, emotional meaning, but none of the characters have anything that the audience can get behind. We feel sorry for Jim and Cindy, but without knowing anything about them, their problems seem distant and it’s hard for us to care. The sub-plots are too numerous to be fully developed, so the relationships between Jim and his father or Cindy and her boss mean next to nothing to us. The biggest subplot involved Timothy and his friend Joni, but that was confused by Cindy’s unwarranted disapproval of Joni. They would have been better off writing out Joni all together and focusing more on Jim, Cindy and the other adults that Timothy came in contact with.
It was also surprising that director Peter Hedges struggled getting the most of talented actors like Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner. He made Steve Carell and Katie Holmes look like Oscar winners in DAN IN REAL LIFE and PIECES OF APRIL respectively. There were times when Edgerton and Garner looked completely lost as to what they were supposed to be doing. The scene where they’re writing down what they want in a kid sticks out as being awkward, especially as they’re imagining themselves cheering for their kid at a soccer game.
I was hoping for a good-hearted, family-oriented, enjoyable film when I sat down to watch THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN, but I ended up with a sappy disappointment. I believe there is a good film in here, but it needed a simplified script, better direction and more focus. THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN has its moments, but overall I found myself rolling my eyes more often than not.
Video: THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN looks beautiful, especially with the outdoor scenes. Cinematographer John Toll has done several incredible movies, such as BRAVEHEART, ALMOST FAMOUS and this year’s CLOUD ATLAS, all of which were very impressive.
Audio: The audio is also wonderful.
Audio Commentary with writer/director Peter Hedges: Hedges covers a lot of the technical aspects of the film in this commentary and for the most part he does a good job of keeping the chatter going. It’s not as interesting as a commentary with two people, but he does a pretty decent job.
This is Family (9:57): Various cast and crew members talk about the characters, script, story and themes in this short little featurette.
Deleted Scenes (5:59): Five deleted scenes that are worth watching since it’s only around six minutes worth of footage.
The Gift of Music (9:01): A featurette that focuses on the score for the film and the song “This Gift”.
Music Video: This Gift (5:01): By Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus
The Muppet Movie Blu-ray Trailer: A trailer for the almost 35th Anniversary Edition which will be coming to Blu-ray.