Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (2020) – Review, Summary (with Spoilers)

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“Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” is reminiscent of the DCOMs Disney used to produce, but now aimed for a younger generation.

“Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” is reminiscent of the DCOMs Disney used to produce, but now aimed for a younger generation.

Director(s) Tom McCarthy
Screenplay By Tom McCarthy, Stephan Pastis
Date Released (Disney+) 2/7/2020
Genre(s) Comedy, Family, Adventure
Duration 1 Hour, 40 Minutes
Noted Cast
Timmy Winslow Fegley
Patty Ophelia Lovibond
Molly Chloe Coleman
Corina Ai-Chan Carrier
Rollo Kei
Mr. Jenkins Craig Robinson
Crispin Kyle Bornheimer
Mr. Crocus Wallace Shawn

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Plot Summary/ Review (Ending Spoilers on 2nd Page)

Timmy Failure, an only child, being raised by a single mother, Patty, is a detective. One who, alongside the polar bear, Total, who shared up not too long after his father left, solve the crimes around his neighborhood in Portland. Such as missing backups, the deaths of hamsters, and the things the cops couldn’t be able to handle.

But, while Timmy is a world-class detective, as an elementary school kid, he struggles. His friend Rollo, a former member of Total Failure detective agency, has committed himself to school work and trying to get into college. Molly, a girl who may like Timmy, he doesn’t fully trust her yet. And then there is Corina – someone who Timmy thinks is working with the Russians.

Luckily, despite all that troubles Timmy, like Mr. Crocus being hard on him, between Total, his mom, and school counselor Mr. Jenkins, Timmy may not only solve his latest case but survive 5th grade.

Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs

Being normal can sure feel lonely
— Timmy | Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What made Timmy want to be a detective, and who are his inspirations? We never see him and Patty watch movies or read together, so who is his whole persona based on?


You Could See This As A Television Series

From moving to a new apartment, his mom dating someone new, and the trials and tribulations of middle school, you could see so much come from “Timmy Failure” becoming a series. We have this weird kid who is strange in a way you can imagine being real, rather than Hollywood’s version of “different,” and then all these adults, kids, and people who seem very Portland specific. Be it the intense librarian with tattoos who looks like she rides a Harley around town, the hippies who grow pot in their basement, to the many hipsters with the most luxurious beards.

What this film does isn’t just introduce Timmy but a universe. An entire world to be explored, and one could only hope this isn’t a one and done experience.

The Male Figures In Timmy’s Life

Specifically, Crispin and Mr. Jenkins, you have to love their part in Timmy’s life. This isn’t to downplay Mr. Crocus, who put up with a lot, but while Timmy appreciated him not giving up on him, he didn’t really engage him. Mr. Jenkins, unlike many adults at the school, spoke Timmy’s language. He didn’t push conformity but instead helped Timmy understand that he needed to find a way to adapt. So that he didn’t become normal, lifeless, and dull, but still had the ability to make it through school and life.

Then with Crispin, while it is established Timmy isn’t necessarily a momma’s boy, it has been just him and his mother for years. So seeing him learn to trust Crispin and go to him when he had a problem with Total, it was sweet in ways that caught me off guard. Bringing an unexpected emotional oomph to what most may consider a kids’ movie.

Patty’s Struggle

But Timmy’s relationships with the men in his life weren’t the only thing that surprised me. Patty’s financial struggles also were a surprise. Now, granted, there was the need to ask if Timmy’s father was paying child support and where were Patty’s parents, never mind Timmy’s paternal grandparents. However, the struggles she had having a unique kid, and it being clear Patty didn’t come from some upper middle-class life, but was doing her best, was a nice change of pace. Especially her noting how difficult it was to afford what was normal for Timmy and bringing up how her salary couldn’t handle the rising rent.

Molly and Timmy

I don’t know if Molly has a crush or not, but her friendship with Timmy was so sweet and pure. It’s the kind that reminds you of that one friend who thought you were cool, no matter how weird you were, and as much as they offered their acceptance, they asked that of you. And while you may not have fully appreciated them at the time, as an adult, you realize that was probably the best friendship you ever had. Outside of any and all imaginary friends.

On The Fence

This May Feel Longer Than It Needed To Be

While the film doesn’t necessarily feel like it overstays its welcome, you may find yourself sometimes thinking this is a pilot vs. a movie. Not because of how it acts so much like an extended pilot, but since you can foresee so many moments it could have ended and continued in what could be seen as episode two. For, on its own, “Timmy Failure” almost makes you feel like you are binge-watching something and the end of the movie leading you to realize, rather than an 8+ episode season, this one is only 3.

Meaning, while you enjoy yourself overall, you may feel that this really didn’t need to be a movie, and perhaps more could have been done with supporting characters if this was just made into a mini-series or regular series.


Why Watch

  1. You enjoy kid detective movies
  2. The awkwardness of elementary school kids you find comical
  3. You want to watch something kid-friendly, with moments that the average kid wouldn’t be part of, yet there still being something about it rooted in normalcy

Would Watch Again? –Worth Revisiting

Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

While it certainly may feel a bit long for some, “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” feels like a 90s show which embraced its lead’s eccentricities and the struggles which come from being unique. Add in the lead’s various relationships all matter in such a way to make you forget how little we know about his mom or friends, and that is why we’re giving this the positive label. That and we’d honestly watch this as a series.

“Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” Ending Spoilers

The major issues Timmy faces are the fact he will be going to middle school soon, and that his mother’s Segway disappeared. In terms of the Segway, we learn the cops took it for being illegally parked. As for middle school? Well, between making a friend out of Molly, Mr. Jenkins encouraging him to be himself, and Crispin slowly, but surely, becoming a possible consistent male figure in his life, it seems things are looking up.

Heck, even for Patty, Timmy’s mom, things aren’t looking so bad. For while, yes, she had to move, and was unemployed for a short time, due to needing to take off when Timmy got suspended, she has a new job and maybe a new boyfriend. Though with Timmy liking Crispin, him leaving her son alone, and him driving into a pole, might be forgiven quicker than Crispin thinks.

Is A Sequel Possible?

Absolutely. There is Timmy starting middle school, and restarting his agency, Patty dating again, having a kid going through puberty, and all that could go on with Timmy’s friends. Be it crushes, losing friendships, or him maybe not investigating things people lost or crime, but people.

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User Review
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  1. How did you manage to MISS the relationship between Timmy and his BEST FRIEND Rollo Tookus, who accompanies Timmy on many of his adventures? Not the least of which is the bank scene. WOW…

    1. For me, the connection wasn’t that strong. It almost seemed obligatory and didn’t contribute to Timmy’s growth as much as it enabled him.

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