REVIEW: Timmy II [2016]

Score: 7/10 | ★ ★ ★

Rating: NR | Runtime: 9 minutes | Release Date: December 19th, 2016 (Singapore)
Studio: Film School Shorts
Director(s): Imran J. Khan
Writer(s): Imran J. Khan & Christopher Vennemeyer

“I’m human now. But the wrong kind, I guess.”

Writer/director Imran J. Khan‘s short comedy Timmy II is absurd in more ways than one. There’s the ham-fisted sci-fi aspect of a father putting his deceased son’s heart into a robot and watching it come to life on the story front and an overuse of obvious green screen work on the production end. But it all adds to the infectious charm of this quirky metaphor for our world’s knee-jerk prejudices. It allows Khan’s and Christopher Vennemeyer‘s script to comment not only on America’s bigotry towards Muslims, but also the Middle East’s hatred of the US. Here’s an American-made creation, soon fitted with a Pakistani face to seem more human, placed in self-exile without a safe destination. Timmy II is an American-born Muslim judged by appearances rather than identity.

Khan plays the titular character himself, a soft-spoken being with dreams of finding his place. His “father” (Phil Gruber‘s Roger Stern) hopes he’ll follow in the “real” Timmy’s footsteps, but Timmy II has other ideas. His path leads him to experience prejudice as a robot—the thing taking American jobs from hard-working (read entitled) humans. So he meets a doctor willing to perform a head transplant only to have the joy of a face extinguished by 9/11. Now he’s hated as a terrorist in the US and an American spy in the Middle East. He’s without home or family, both hinging on the hope Roger will accept him when so many others refuse. He’s lost between two worlds, falsely accused of whatever hate outsiders decide to spew forth.

Timmy II is a poignant commentary of mankind’s fear manifesting with a guilty until proven innocent agenda wherein differences become defaulted as wrong. People are abused for the color of their skin even if they know nothing about the place it originated. Strangers look at random facts such as birthplace and instantly come to a conclusion without giving the person a chance to tell his/her story. We laugh at the pratfalls Timmy II experiences because they come with a pointed, knowing air. The film is therefore most absurd in the realization that its jokes are rooted in reality. We laugh because we cannot fathom our world has become this cesspool of blind hate and superiority. Hopefully that laughter opens people’s eyes to their role in the joke.

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