Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pass the Popcorn: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

My family, living in New York City and working in the entertainment industry, gets a lot of tickets to VIP previews and screenings. Here in my little New England town, half an hour up the coast from Boston? Um, not so much.

That's why we were very excited to get an email inviting us to a preview showing of the new Disney movie The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Seats were "extremely limited," so (even though I'm an advertising copywriter myself and know that you should never assume that what you read is true) we quickly responded. The event was two days away and we arranged to bring one of my teen daughter's best and oldest friends along.

Getting to the multiplex that was hosting the screening was a little complicated. (Right, as if this should be a surprise?) It was a workday and I had several conference calls lined up. I then had to rush out to collect my daughter at the stable. Then rush back so she could shower and change. Then rush over to the BFF's house. Then rush to the theatre, several towns away. Rush, rush, rush. Do we see a theme here?

But, we made it and I persuaded the girls to bypass the discount shoe superstore and go right to the box office counter with me. Alas, the lovely young girl with the lip and eyebrow piercings explained, there was a mistake in the email invitation we received. The preview was actually scheduled for the following week. She would be happy to give us tickets for it in advance and to treat us to a free movie that evening.

The girls considered their options: Spider-Man, The Dark Knight, Spider-Man, The Dark Knight, Spider-Man in IMAX, The Dark Knight in IMAX. They chose ...


We were, after all, in a mall and we suddenly had a couple of empty hours to fill. Being the sucker mom you all know me to be (and being way too tired to think of something more intellectual, healthy or enriching), I agreed. In fact, we shopped not one but two malls that night. The girls were in their glory and all was well with the world. 

A week later, we again did the mad rush to make the private screening, and this time our efforts were rewarded. Not with stonewashed day-glo lime green shorts (yes, really), but with a very satisfying little movie.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green is the story of a young couple who desperately want a baby. When they learn that they are finally out of fertility treatment options (and most likely money), they imagine their perfect child. They write all of his or her qualities on scraps of paper, place them in a small wooden chest and ceremoniously bury them. Lo and behold, a wild storm hits that night and a small boy emerges from their garden. He is (as you probably guessed) Timothy. And, he is wonderful in every way — except that he has leaves growing out of his legs. 

Nobody's perfect.

This being a feel-good family film from the "house of mouse," Timothy and his parents learn how to be a family and teach everyone else valuable life lessons before the magic is all used up and Timothy has to return to that great greenhouse in the sky. Not to worry, the happy ending is as predictable as most of the rest of the movie. And we all left feeling a little teary but decidedly warm and fuzzy.

The movie is 100% pure formula schmaltz, but it is about as well executed as it could possibly be. It's like a junior Forrest Gump for a crowd that doesn't want to have to think too much.

We all loved it.

On the way home, the girls talked with me about the movie. Let me stop here for one moment to impress upon you the rare and wondrous nature of two words in the above sentence: with me. They didn't exclude me from their comments. They didn't bury their faces in their iPhones. We actually had a con-ver-sa-tion about a shared experience. OMG!

That, my friends, was well worth the price of admission. (And would have been — even if we had paid for our tickets!)

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