By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)


Based on the story by Ahmet Zappa (Frank’s son), writer/director Peter Hedges (Dan in Real Life) presents this sweet, adorable, and imaginative tale of a mysterious, but brilliant young boy who changes the lives of his parents and of those whom he touches with his loving and caring personality.  Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton) receive the devastating news that they are unable to conceive children.  The married couple imagines what characteristics, both positive and negative, their ideal child would possess.  Jim writes these traits down, places them in a box, and buries it in their backyard.  Shortly afterward, Timothy Green (CJ Adams) comes to life.  Always cheerful and optimistic, Timothy personifies much of what the Greens want in a son.  Still, despite his magical background, the sweet boy does have his flaws.  Through Timothy, the Greens learn much about parenting, including the negative aspects.

Hedges and Zappa create a fine film that most families should really enjoy.  Granted, the movie has its slightly overly syrupy, saccharine moments, but for the most part, there are only a couple of these and they don’t really take away from the overall product.  It does also have a few lame comedic scenes that I could have done without.  Still, all flaws aside, I still find this to be a solid fantasy tale that has just the right amount of reality that adults will appreciate.

Most of the cast deliver stellar performances, particularly CJ Adams who really blew me away with his outstanding portrayal of Timothy.   Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton also offer some heartfelt, passionate and credible acting as two adults who have dreamt of becoming parents and are now facing the realities of this life challenge.  The cast also features Odeya Rush, Shohreh Aghadashloo, Rosemarie Dewitt, David Morse and Dianne Wiest who all contribute quite nicely to the movie.  I was particularly taken with M. Emmett Walsh who lovingly stars as Uncle Bub.  He does an awesome job as this sweet grandfatherly character.

I will recommend this movie as an enjoyable afternoon matinee or evening trip to the movies for the family.  There will probably be some resistance from pre-teens and teens who think they are way too cool for this movie.  Perhaps, they should be left at home or sent to another movie. Otherwise, take the kids, and invite the grandparents and anyone else who doesn’t think they are above a sweet and adorable fairy tale.


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