Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made is a Disney comedy film that premiered at Sundance and received a wide-release on Disney Plus. The movie is directed by Tom McCarthy and is based on the book series of the same name by Stephan Pastis. I have not read the book series, so I will focus on reviewing the movie.
Timmy Failure (Winslow Fegley) is an eleven-year-old who lives with his single mother Patty (Ophelia Lovibond) in Portland, Oregon. To cope with his father abandoning them, he imagines that he is a private detective who is solving crime with his “partner,” a clumsy Polar Bear named Total. Between the two of them, they are the Total Failure Detective Agency. His antipathy towards school irks his teacher Mr. Crocus (Wallace Shawn). After his mother’s segway is stolen while Timmy is visiting a classmate, his world starts to unravel. His mother starts dating a parking enforcement officer “meter-maid” Crispin (Kyle Bornheimer) and shortly afterward announces they are moving. As Timmy searches for the missing segway, his student counselor Mr. Jenkins (Craig Robinson) tries to understand Timmy, whose antics frustrate his mother, his peers, and his teachers.
This is a delightful family film that shows a kid’s perspective on his world shifting around him. He feels the responsibility of losing his father and creates a world he understands to cope and as the grown-ups tell him to grow up, he feels that he already has. I enjoyed how this movie developed that story and did it with caring. Fegley does a good job as a child actor bringing the character to life. Likewise, Robinson does an excellent job as his student counselor trying to reach him and do his homework.
I did have two squabbles with the movie. The first “case” Timmy gets at the start of the film is a missing back-up that has a Swiss Army Knife. While it is revealed who took the knife, the film seems to drop this and only gives this plot point a cursory nod at towards the climax of the film. Also, there is a single cuss word at the end and while this seems somewhat dull in this modern world, this is a kid’s movie. Come on, Disney. What were you thinking?
Despite that, the film does elicit some genuine laughs for its duration. Most of these come from Timmy and his Polar Bear, but also Wallace Shawn as the boy’s frustrated teacher who is at his wits’ end while trying to keep the young boy in line.
Bottom line, this is a silly and delightful family film that has enough misadventure to keep the kids entertained, but plenty of laughs for mom and dad on family night.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Mayhem, Minor violence, Brief foul language
FAVORITE QUOTE: Mistakes were made.
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my movie reviews of Bombshell and Jojo Rabbit. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.