Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made is an American film based on the book series of the same name by Stephan Pastis that premiered on Disney+ on February 7, 2020. The film was directed by Tom McCarthy from a screenplay by McCarthy and Stephan Pastis and it stars Winslow Fegley, Ophelia Lovibond, and Craig Robinson.
Timmy Failure (Winslow Fegley) is an 11-year-old living in Portland, Oregon with his single mother Patty (Ophelia Lovibond). Timmy runs Total Failure Inc., his own personal detective agency and "solves" cases. Much of Timmy's adventures revolve around himself traveling with his imaginary polar bear friend Total (implied to be the result of his father walking out on him and his mother) across the city looking for cases and outwitting the "Russians"; actually just bearded hipsters. Among his small social group are Charles "Rollo" Tookus, a former member of Total Failure Inc. who quit after a mission gone awry, and Molly Moskins (Chloe Coleman), a perky and optimistic girl who admires Timmy. Timmy considers his arch-enemy a girl named Corrina Corrina (Ai-Chan Carrier), who appears oblivious to his animosity towards her, though it is implied to be due to him having repressed feelings for her.
While retrieving a dead hamster from a fellow classmate, Timmy's Failure-Mobile, a segway that actually belongs to his mother, is stolen right out from under him. He cancels his other cases and recruits Rollo who believes that the death of their class hamster and the stolen segway are linked back to the Russians. While at the library, Timmy learns from Molly that Corrina is a quarter Russian and believes that she is behind the theft to dismantle his agency. Due to Timmy's inability to retain himself in class and his unusual outbursts, Timmy begins seeing the school counselor, Mr. Jenkins, whom Timmy begins to slowly, but surely trust with his mission. He also learns that Patty is dating a meter maid named Crispin who is friendly and aloof, but Timmy dislikes as he "[doesn't] collaborate with law enforcement."
Timmy learns that Corrina's father owns a bank and believes that his segway is there. He and Rollo try to sneak in, but get kicked out by security. Mr. Jenkins manages to get Timmy to do his homework as part of a "mission", but while doing so, learns from Patty that they have to move to an apartment that upsets Timmy as he wants to earn enough money to buy his own office. While at a field trip to Bonneville Dam, Timmy is convinced that Corrina plans to shut off the power to all of Portland. Unaware that she is still with the group, Timmy rushes through the dam to find her while being chased by his teacher Mr. Crocus. They end up outside the dam just as the operators open the flood gates. Timmy tries protecting Crocus from the flood, as he considers him an intellectual equal, but it turns out that they are high above the flood gates. Timmy is then suspended for three days, and Crocus quits his job and is replaced while Patty angrily lashes out at Timmy that she was fired because she had to stay home with Timmy, and shuts down Total Failure Inc for good. Saddened over his fate of having to be "normal" and moving to an apartment, Timmy lets Total go at the zoo.
Mr. Jenkins approaches Timmy and reminds him that he must learn from his mistakes so that he can be a better person. Invigorated after discovering a "Russian bug" in his cookie, Timmy recruits Crispin to liberate Total from the zoo. As they are driving back, they spot a purse snatcher and Crispin gives chase, catching him. Timmy considers aiding him, but decides to simply call the police. After accidentally backing up his truck into a pole, Patty comes to see Timmy in the hospital and he apologizes for his behavior. Patty tells Timmy that she wants him to re-open his detective agency. Afterward, Timmy discovers that the segway was at the police station this whole time for being parked in a no-parking zone. Timmy comes out to give a speech at an animal fundraiser set up by Molly and excites the crowd with his speech on allowing polar bears into the school. As Timmy wishes that Crocus could be there, he suddenly believes that Crocus was kidnapped by Corrina and the Russians and sets off with Total to "rescue" him.
- Winslow Fegley as Timmy Failure
- Troy Ames as Young Timmy
- Ophelia Lovibond as Patty Failure, Timmy’s single mother
- Wallace Shawn as Frederick Crocus, Timmy's teacher
- Craig Robinson as Mr. Jenkins, Timmy's therapist
- Kyle Bornheimer as Crispin, Patty's boyfriend
- Ai-Chan Carrier as Corrina Corrina, Timmy's rival
- Chloe Coleman as Molly Moskins
- Kei as Charles "Rollo" Tookus
- Caitlin Weierhauser as Flo
- Ruby Matenko as Maxine Shellenberger
On April 25, 2017, it was reported that director Tom McCarthy was in talks to direct an adaptation of Stephan Pastis's novel Timmy Failure for Walt Disney Pictures. McCarthy was expected to write the film's screenplay with Pastis and Jim Whitaker was set to serve as a producer. On February 8, 2018, it was announced that the film would premiere on Disney’s then-unnamed upcoming streaming service that was set to launch in the fall of 2019.
On June 9, 2017, it was initially reported that the film would go through pre-production from June 26 through September 15, 2017 with sixty days of filming following in Louisiana. The film was set with a budget of $42 million, with $32 million of that being spent in-state. That included an estimated $10 million on Louisiana payroll.
Filming took place during the week of June 27, 2018, in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, where a set was constructed made to look like a border crossing between the United States and Canada. Production continued in Surrey on July 5, 2018, at the local Cloverdale Fairgrounds, where a scene was shot where a vehicle travels through a house. Principal photography was expected to take place from July 27 through September 8, 2018 in Portland, Oregon.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 88% based on 26 reviews, and an average rating of 7.36/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A fun, fast paced film for all, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made celebrates the power of imagination with a delightful sense of humor and just the right amount of bears." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted rating of 60 out of 100 based on 9 reviews, indicating "mixed or average".
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