Friday, January 27, 2012

World's Greatest Dad (2009)

World’s Greatest Dad (2009)
Rated R
Starring: Robin Williams. Daryl Sabara, Alexie Gilmore, Geoff Pierson
Directed by: Bobcat Goldthwait
Tagline: Lance Clayton is about to get everything he deserves.
Running time: 99 Minutes
DVR (Showtime)

Quick summary: Struggling writer and high school poetry teacher Lance Clayton has always dreamed of becoming a famous, rich and successful author. After a freak accident and some questionable decisions, he is given the opportunity to get everything he’s ever wanted. In order to achieve fame and fortune, he must be able to accept the things he’s done to get there.

At first, I had no interest in seeing this movie. It didn’t look like something I would like. I had, for some reason, been under the impression that it was more of a family comedy. I was incredibly wrong. World’s Greatest Dad is a seriously dark and twisted movie. And I was not expecting that at all.

Making a darkly funny movie is a difficult task, as you have to walk a fine line between the dark and the comic. Too dark, and you risk losing the comedy, and too funny, and you run the risk of offending and alienating your audience. World’s Greatest Dad never reaches the point of being too dark or too funny, but is a nice blend of the two.

Robin Williams is a much better actor than I usually want to give him credit for, but with this and One Hour Photo, he’s shown an ability to go to some darker places and do some serious work, rather than just be the over the top goofy-funny guy he has been in the past. As I’ve said before, I like to see depth and gravity from comedic actors from time to time, and when they nail it, it’s incredibly rewarding. Williams was believable as Lance Clayton, and I can’t help but think that just about any other person on the planet would make some of the decisions he did to avoid embarrassment.

Daryl Sabara, as Lance’s teenaged son Kyle, was the right amount of jackass to make you really not like him at all. (Spoiler alert) When he dies of auto-erotic asphyxiation, you do not really feel bad for him, since he was an insufferable jerk for the majority of the movie. And the contrast between him when he was alive, and people’s perception of the person he was after his “suicide” is revealed is so great, that it makes you wonder how often things like that happen in the real world.

Writer-Director Bobcat Goldthwait (yes, THAT Bobcat Goldthwait) does a remarkably good job with this movie, which I was not expecting from him. To be honest, I don’t know what I was expecting from Goldthwait. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this movie, and I don’t know if you can really enjoy dark comedies all that much, but it was interesting and weird, and it kept my attention, which are all good things in this instance.

3 our of 5 stars

Better than Avatar


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