Tuesday, March 1, 2011

World's Greatest Dad

Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait.
2009. Rated R, 99 minutes.
Robin Williams
Alexie Gilmore
Daryl Sabara
Henry Simmons
Geoff Pierson
Evan Martin
Lorraine Nicholson
Zach Sanchez

Plot: Aspiring but unsuccessful writer and high school poetry teacher Lance Clayton (Williams) lives alone with his unapologetic jerk of a teenaged son Kyle (Sabara) and carries on a relationship with fellow teacher Claire (Gilmore) even though she doesn't want to be seen in public with him.

The Good: Robin Williams is usually only seen in two modes. He's either zany, verging on being totally out of control but fighting for some grand cause or morose and perhaps more than a little perverted. Here, he's much more a regular guy who seems to have life living him, instead of the other way around. He pulls it off, perfectly. Like so many of us in real life, his emotions are conveyed not by his words but by his facial expressions and body language. It's a wonderful performance. To aid this, we get a story that's excellently written. It's subtle, even when it seems to be over the top. It also puts us in position to seriously ponder what we might've done in the same situation. This brings us to the writer and director, Bobcat Goldthwait, who also shows up in a tiny role. Those of us who can actually remember the 1980s might be mildly surprised he hasn't already died of an overdose. Given that you might be completely blown away that he's still capable of coherent thought, much less writing a cerebral character examination. Kudos to him. Oh, I haven't even mentioned the fact that it's funny.

The Bad: Where is Kyle's mother? Unless I missed it, she's never mentioned. Doing so would've added another layer to both Kyle and the movie as a whole. We would be better able to psychoanalyze him, as we're already doing without quite enough information. I would have also love for us to meet Andrew's (Martin) mom, the alcoholic. She could've added tons, as well.

The Ugly: How and why the tragedy occurred.

Recommendation: We have another excellent effort in dark comedy, making 2009 a very strong year for the genre. As with most of them, there's just not enough hijinks and shenanigans to hold some people's attention. If you don't go in expecting another gross-out bromance or get too pissed off in the first few minutes that Lance hasn't beat the crap out of his son, you'll be in for a fun ride. Those of you into character studies, this one's for you.

MY SCORE: 8/10

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