Film Review: Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made

Note: This is film #16 in my 365 Film Challenge.

I saw a trailer for this movie ages ago, and it looked the kind of quirky, fun flick that I’d enjoy and so as soon as we got Disney+ this went on my watchlist, but as WoM wasn’t feeling it, getting around to it got delayed.

timmyfailure

The film is a whimsical film about Timmy Failure (Winslow Fegley), an eccentric eleven year old who has set up his own detective agency named Total Failure after the names of the two partners, Timmy and his imaginary friend Total, a polar bear. Timmy takes his cases very seriously, recording notes and debating whether he needs a larger office.

He views his town of Portland as being at risk from various threats, particularly The Russians, who he observes looking shifty throughout town. An oddball, Timmy is having issues at school due to getting into trouble and being a bit of a loner, while his mother Patty (Ophelia Lovibond) is juggling two jobs, but is happy with Timmy being different as long as he’s happy.

Timmy narrates the film, and in a nice touch we see the contrast between his perception of events and people and the reality. What starts off with a missing backpack (actually hanging up in the owner’s big brother’s room) soon spirals into what Timmy builds as a conspiracy involving The Russians, a dead hamster and the theft of the Failure-Mobile, his mother’s Segway which Timmy routinely borrows without permission.

It’s quite a fun little movie, which captures a sense of childlike imagination and a sense of Timmy trying to work out what’s going on but getting it wrong due to inexperience, lack of understanding and his tendency towards flights of fancy. There’s a nice quirky vibe to proceedings and it moves along at a decent pace.

Best of all for a kids film is that it boasts a terrific lead performance from Fegley, who is magnificently deadpan as the weird kid. He manages to be amusing while also kinda endearing, although it’s totally understandable why he infuriates so many of the adults in his life.

It’s a story about Timmy trying to work out his place in the world, to understand the world around him and also the difficulties of being different. A scene where a frustrated Patty scolds him for being weird will hit everyone who’s ever felt a bit different hard, and it’s the emotional hit of the movie. While it’s focus is the kid, there is enough shown, even if not understood by Timmy, that we get that life is tough for Patty as she struggles to keep their family afloat and deal with the headaches Timmy’s “investigations” cause (the film’s subtitle is Timmy’s repeated response to things going awry).

I really enjoyed it, an offbeat, fun movie about quite an endearing little weirdo. 8/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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