From scantily clad cyclists to 1,500-pound polar bears roaming the streets, Portland's quirks—both real and imaginary—are getting more screen time in a new original Disney+ movie.
The first trailer for Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made hit YouTube this week, and it's clear from the two-minute clip that the setting isn't just incidental. The movie was filmed in various parts of Portland in 2018—you could play a short drinking game and catch a decent buzz taking a shot for every landmark shown: the hulking water tower in the Overlook Neighborhood, the Fremont Bridge, and downtown's twin ornamental street lights.
Based on the first book in a popular series by Stephan Pastis, who also created the comicstrip Pearls Before Swine, the plot focuses on a self-confident boy detective who tools around town on his mother's Segway with his sidekick—the aforementioned giant polar bear, named Total—in tow.
Timmy (Winslow Fegley) tells viewers in the trailer that he lives underneath the water tower in "Portland, Oregon—a place where things get strange." To help illustrate our city's well-documented oddball status, the segment cuts to a scene that resembles the annual Naked Bike Ride, only in Timmy Failure's world everyone has a little bit of clothing on. The procession is led by a shirtless Wallace Shawn bellowing toward the camera, who, at least to our knowledge, has not pedaled in the buff here before.
Things get more complicated for our 11-year-old hero when somebody swipes his two-wheeled mode of transportation. During his journey to get it back, Timmy tries to navigate the adults around him, including his mother (Ophelia Lovibond), her boyfriend (Kyle Bornheimer), his teacher (Shawn), and guidance counselor (Craig Robinson).
At once slightly fantastical—Timmy is seen plunging down a waterfall in a barrel and airborne behind the wheel of a truck—and deadpan, the film might remind you of an elevated Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It's a bit of a departure for director Tom McCarthy, who is best known for dramas like Spotlight (2015) and The Station Agent (2003).
Timmy Failure will make its debut at Sundance before it begins streaming on Feb. 7.