An 11-year old boy who believes that he is the best detective in town runs the agency Total Failures with his best friend, an imaginary 1,200-pound polar bear.
Timmy Failure has a life that could be considered tragic, but don’t call it normal. Growing up in Stumptown, AKA Portland, Wash., where weirdness is celebrated, Timmy has an unfortunate name, an absent father, and a mother who is scraping to get by. But as much as Timmy wants to help, his hyperactive imagination and natural curiosity often cause problems, especially for his mother.
In the vein of Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Dennis the Menace, Timmy is a character who could be amusing and adorable, or one who could be seen as brash, disobedient, and reckless. By the end of the film, it’s reasonably clear that Timmy doesn’t have a mean-spirited bone in his body and that his efforts are always aimed at the greater good – even if it involves his polar bear best friend or the Russians in town, who he is certain are conspiring against the good people of Portland.
While Timmy’s troubles are a mash-up of the imagined and the real, there is a real angst involved in his awareness that he is leaving the safe confines of elementary school for middle school in the fall. Add in his awareness that he’s missing a father and that he wants to help his mother but too often causes her trouble, and it’s clear that Timmy needs his friends and advocates. None of them is bigger than his school’s counselor (Craig Robinson), who embraces Timmy’s imagination, energy, and heart, and helps him channel it in the right direction.
The Dove Take
A whimsical adventure that stretches the imagination, Timmy Failure is approved for all ages, challenging us to fight conformity and apathy at the same time.