A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner (TheByteScene Review)

Rating: 3 pink hats out of 4

I spent quite a bit of time thinking about the first article for TheByteScene and I spent even more time considering which movie would be lucky enough (if one can even call it luck) to be the first reviewed. After all, this is going to be the first article written for a page dedicated specifically to reviewing media, and not just analyzing it for psychological, sociological, and anthropological purposes; it needs to be heavy, it needs to have meaning, it needs to be powerful. The movie needs to be something interesting enough that people will want to read it, or if people don’t want to read it, those that do should be interested enough to keep on reading it when they do. It definitely needs to be a movie that people want to see, and not a movie that I tell them they need to see. Which is why it might seem odd that that specific “First movie” is none other than A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner, a made for television film based on a popular Nickelodeon children’s show that first aired in 2001. I suppose the important thing about this review and the subsequent reviews that will follow is the fact that despite what the general public may want or desire, since this is my endeavor, the decision regarding what to review is mine entirely and, interestingly enough, mine alone. Moving on from that point, we move towards the movie itself!

The film is based on, as mentioned earlier, a popular Nickelodeon cartoon that first aired as a series of shorts in 1998. Three years later, the show became a full fledged animated series about a 10-year-old and his magical wish granting goldfish (who also double as his fairy god parents). As one can imagine, the main character, Timmy Turner, gets into all kinds of trouble thanks to the limitless magical sources at his disposal; as such, the show is filled with various amounts of humour targeted at both the children that watch the show, and the parents or guardians who might also (not unlike another Nickelodeon hit starring a sea sponge). Various pop culture references are thrown about here and there and many of the episode titles are references to famous movies, catch phrases, songs and television shows. Grow Up Timmy Turner (hereby shortened to AFOMGUTT, a rather hilarious acronym) takes place in the same universe as the cartoon, though it is a full live action featurette with CGI thrown in for good measure (to animate the fairy god parents, voiced by Daran Norris and Susan Blakeslee, and played by Jason Alexander and Cheryl Hines), with one added twist to give the movie a reason for being: the entire plot takes place 13 years after the television series with a 23-year-old Timmy Turner (played by another Nickelodeon star, Drake Bell) refusing to grow up and give up his fairy god parents.

It must be mentioned that the animated series introduces a set of rules and restrictions on each god child through a large book called “Da Rules.” The foremost rule is constantly stated to be that a child must give up their parents once they “Grow up” or once the fairies are no longer needed (an extension of the fact that a child only truly needs fairy god parents when they have been put in a situation that dictates such a need. Being that the show is targeted towards children, the question of why most children in war torn nations don’t have fairies and why they don’t just wish the world better is never posed, and if one can suspend their disbelief towards such a notion, then almost everything that happens in the universe can make sense; though I digress), Timmy Turner exploits the former of those two restrictions by refusing to grow up. That being said, he refuses to move out of his parents house, he refuses to find a job, and he refuses to fall in love (those being the three ways one is expected to “Grow up” both in the animated universe and, more often than naught, in the real world as well), and therefore he keeps his fairies. Throughout the film, various attempts are made by both his parents and the fairy world’s “Judge, jury, and executioner” figure Jorgen Von Strangle (played by Mark Gibbon) to get Timmy to fall in love and, being what the movie is, he fails each time, usually resulting in some form of slapstick where a character falls in love with another and does everything in their power to fulfill their desires.

Though one might imagine that the main antagonist of the movie is Timmy Turner himself, considering that each and every move he makes is entirely selfish and counter productive to a healthy human’s natural growth, the film’s two primary antagonists are an oil tycoon named Hugh J. Magnate Jr (a play on words for the phrase “Huge magnate;” to anyone who is not aware, the word “Magnate” is a derivative of the Latin word “Magnus” itself meaning “Great.” Therefore, the man’s name, once translated literally is “Huge Great.”) and Denzel Crocker, Timmy’s school teacher who is after his fairy god parents. The oil tycoon’s main goal is to build an oil guzzling hotel on the space that an old dogwood tree occupies (for any of the more discerning viewers, the hotel that Magnate plans on building is reminiscent of the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, right down to having an oil drill on top where a crane was until reconstruction began again in 2008, though I digress once more) and he enlists the help of Crocker once the latter convinces the former that he is not crazy and that fairies do exist, though all of this is merely a plot to introduce the audience to the girl who is fated to steal Timmy’s heart and finally make him grow up, Tootie (played by Danielle Monet).

Through Tootie, Timmy learns to stop being selfish and to grow up, and in the end, he wins the girl, beats the bad guys and moves on with his life, ending his time spent as a “Slobbering man child,” as Crocker (played by David Lewis, who also voices the character in the animated series) gently puts it. I suppose an important thing to note about the film is the fact that it’s actually quite good; the acting is decent considering that most of the cast play characters who are literally cardboard cutouts, and despite the fact that they are forced to play the characters as cartoons, and not as true live action ones. For example take Denzel Crocker; in the animated series he is famous for jumping up and down whenever the topic of fairies are brought up and in the film, he is forced to do the same (right down to a wacky background being displayed, while the character jumps up, down, left and right to accommodate the role he is supposed to be playing). This doesn’t take away from the film at all considering that the majority of what happens comically is largely slapstick humour played deliciously straight. In fact, that’s the one part of the movie that I cannot bring to enough attention; the movie is actually quite funny, and many of the pop culture references are timed so ridiculously that the viewers can’t help but chuckle, if not laugh entirely.

The bits of visual humour are largely slapstick, considering that the target audience shouldn’t even be in their double digits yet, and despite the associated stigma with such a style of comedy, the delivered product does rank rather highly. A scene that immediately comes to mind involves Crocker and Magnate discussing plans for some sort of fairy catcher where Magnate and Crocker constantly hit and bump into each other over the course of a few minutes. The scene offers very little dialogue, apart from the necessary exposition and while I wasn’t laughing out loud, I did emit a small chuckle which, all things considered, means quite a lot. In summation, the comedy works for the target audience, and it works even more because of (and in largely thanks to) its animated roots. While the acting might be a bit stiff, and the “Time to grow up” plot line has become slightly overused over the past few years and in films and television in general, AFOMGUTT is a good movie overall and is also definitely worth watching, if not for the plot, then at least for the laughs and chuckles one will emit whilst watching the film.

On a final note, however, I’d like to mention that Drake Bell is not good at playing a 10-year-old trapped in a 23-year-old’s body. This is made extremely evident near the end of the movie where he begins to achieve a more mature psychological outlook (though the outlook is that of a traditional 23-year-old; girls, girls, girls, and so forth); at this point in the film, his acting takes on a more authentic role, specifically, the audience is able to connect with the character and understand him better. This is largely in comparison to the slobbering man child that the audience is first introduced to, where the question of why he doesn’t grow up is constantly posed. The first few minutes of the film aren’t enough to get a person to stop watching, though, so take that last bit of information with a healthy grain of salt.

As always, this has been your Admin; comment and criticize, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

  1. Excellent blog here! Also your website loads up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

    • Thank you very much for your kind words. I use WordPress (you know, obviously right?), so yeah, that’s always exciting. Either way http://www.wordpress.com is probably what you want, enjoy and thank you once again!

  2. This actually answered my downside, thanks!

    • You’re very welcome, even though I have absolutely NO idea what you’re referring to!

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