Tuesday, January 10, 2012
World's Greatest Dad (2009)
Lance Clayton (Robin Williams) is a depressed single father, unpublished author, and unpopular high school poetry teacher who dreams of becoming a famous writer. As if that's not enough, his home life is a train-wreck because of his obnoxious, manipulative, hostile, sex-obsessed 15 year-old son Kyle (Daryl Sabara). The only thing that he has going for him in his life is a secret relationship with art teacher Claire Reed (Alexie Gilmore), who is actually as manipulative in her tendencies as Kyle is. However, the wake of a tragic accident gives Lance both sadness and the greatest opportunity life has handed him. Lance is then faced with all of the fame, fortune and popularity he has dreamed of as a writer, but he begins questions himself on if he can live with the knowledge on how he got there, though.
This dark comedy is written and directed by comedian Bobcat Goldthwait, whose previous films are about a depressed alcoholic clown (1992's "Shakes The Clown") and a woman who committed bestiality with her pet dog (2006's "Sleeping Dogs Lie"). So when I say that this movie here falls under the term "dark comedy," I mean "very dark comedy." Goldthwait's direction is nothing too special, but he manages to work to great effect with his actors to deliver convincing performances, in addition to constructing some beyond clever and sometimes surreal montage sequences. His screenplay on the other hand, is full of very brisk originality that combines clever plot twists with hilarious dialogue between the characters that Williams and Sabara portray.
As a hybrid of being both very funny and depressing, "World's Greatest Dad" is quite possibly the best movie I have seen to attempt at executing that odd combo in the correct way. It's a triumph for Robin Williams, as it showcases one of the most underrated performances of his long career, in addition to showing us to a whole new side to Daryl Sabara's acting range. Writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait is a dark comedy filmmaker that's on my watch-list, so I'm definitely intrigued to what type of weirdly original trip he'll take us moviegoers on next.
Final Grade: A-