It was co-written with director Peter Hedges. He may have flopped with Dan in Real Life, but I loved About a Boy (Hugh Grant). And he wrote What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.
Disney wanted to make a family picture, with an uplifting story about adoption. Now, as powerful as it was to subtly see a couple that can’t conceive a child in the animated film UP, in this…it’s a bit odd.
The couple is played by Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton (who had absolutely no chemistry together). They drink a bottle of wine one night, which is often how children are conceived; but this time it’s after they write all the things down they’d like in a child. They bury it in a box in the backyard. Lightning strikes and the kid emerges.
I was able to suspend disbelief in Ruby Sparks, but then it’s not as creepy when a well-known novelist writes about a woman that appears – and isn’t a minor! I can’t sit there without wondering why they don’t call child protective services; or wonder why Michael Jackson never thought of this idea while he was alive, but I digress.
I’m guessing most kids won’t care for this, and most adults will lose interest in the contrived and underdeveloped narrative.
The child seems to help everyone in the town. Unfortunately, the evil characters are over-the-top. The usually reliable Rosemarie DeWitt is so mean as a sister, I’m guessing Garner would’ve just told her to piss off years ago. And the creepy David Morse as the mean grandfather…why even invite him to watch the kids soccer game?
The other miscast “actor” is rapper Common, who plays the mean soccer coach.
M. Emmet Walsh is okay as the nice grandfather, and Dianne Wiest is fun as the ornery owner of a pencil company that’s in danger of going out of business.
I wanted to root for the kid that has roots and leaves growing from his legs. I was pleasantly surprised they didn’t have a bully make fun of him for having the last name “Green” with green things growing on his shins.
I wanted to root for the boys odd relationship with a quirky girl in town; but when they make bizarre things hanging from the trees in the forest…I was more confused than anything else.
I wish the folks at the pencil factor would’ve used those instruments to write a better script. I would’ve rather stayed home and watched my DVD of The Kids in the Hall, which had a skit where Bruce McCulloch is born with a cabbage for a head.
This movie gets 1 star out of 5, since I did tear up in one scene.