Perhaps it’s a case of belated rebellion. The story for Disney’s The Odd Life of Timothy Green was provided by Ahmet Zappa, youngest son of rock iconoclast Frank, who would have had little tolerance for the film’s saccharine whimsy and insipid inspirational platitudes.
Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton play a couple unable to have children who spend a wine-fueled night inventing their ideal child on pages from a notepad, which they then bury in the backyard. A magical storm brings that child to life, his sudden appearance generating few questions in a small town where everyone knows everyone else. Timothy is “different,” both in his lack of guile and in the leaves that sprout from his legs, and his frantic parents (Garner in particular is apoplectic from the Disney logo to the closing credits) do everything in their power to make him feel accepted by the judgmental townsfolk. There’s a message there, if you hadn’t guessed, and it’s hammered home with the force of a slaughterhouse blow to the head.
Even solid character actors like David Morse, M. Emmet Walsh and Dianne Wiest can do little to distinguish the film’s land shallowness; it feels so much like the churned-out live-action fodder that Disney used to produce that there really should have been a role for Dean Jones.