Thursday, December 17, 2009

Under 250: World's Greatest Dad

At first glance, it doesn't look like much. Robin Williams, an actor whose career has sort of been in a limbo of tedium for the past decade, teams up with pitchy comedian turned director Bobcat Goldthwait for a film with a title that sounds about as cheap as you can get: World's Greatest Dad. Thank god, however, it's not at all some sort of bastard sequel to Father's Day or another silly/sweet bit of claptrap, but is instead an expertly controlled dark, twisted, voyage that's as smart as it is legitimately funny. Williams plays Lance Clayton, a failed writer turned high school poetry teacher. He's a nice guy who keeps plugging away in spite of repeated rejection and who reaches out to his son on a daily basis. His son Kyle (Daryl Sabara), however, is a case that cannot be helped. He's a first class asshole and future pervert without goals and interests outside of perusing pornography on the internet. He's foul-mouthed, garish, and unlikable by any and all standards. Yet, Lance still tries, and when tragedy strikes, things take an unexpected turn. The film sinks to the lowest levels of human decency and skirts around taste and into dark territory, yet, its hardly noticeable. The story is so solid, the characters so finely drawn, and the heart so firmly in the right place that the film gets away with murder. Williams is fantastic, sympathetic even when his intentions are dubious, and the rest of the cast plays their roles perfectly. This is a dark high school comedy to rival Heathers, and one of the most unique (and wholly unexpected) bits of comedic filmmaking in recent memory. See it. Even if you've a low temperment for raunch, sit through it, you will be rewarded.


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