By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Three Beers) –
Lance Clayton (Robin Williams) is an writer desperate for recognition, but totally lacking in it. Every single book he’s written (and there are many) have been rejected by publishers. He lives with his teenage son and teaches poetry at the local school. His son is unlikeable, antisocial, and oversexed. He has only one acquaintance who could qualify as a friend, and shows nothing but disdain for his father. And one day Lance finds him dead. In his grief, Lance is deeply disturbed by the circumstances of his son’s death, (which are to say the least… unusual) and he decides to rearrange it to appear like a suicide. He even types out a long suicide note, which he leaves for police to find. The suicide note is published in the school newspaper for everyone to see.
In a case of mass amnesia, the note creates a stir in the school population, and suddenly everyone seems to remember his son fondly. Lance sees this moment as his chance to finally get his writing read, and so he drafts and publishes a journal and attributes it to his son. Suddenly Lances writing has become massively popular, with the ironic twist that Lance is seeing no acknowledgment for it. He is even invited on a nationwide talk show to talk about the book.
Comedian Bobcat Goldthwait is nothing if not daring in this darkly funny movie. I cannot help but appreciate the lengths he goes to make all of the film’s characters as completely fucked-up as possible. The decision to make the son such a profusely detestable character is particularly interesting. The film addresses the strange phenomenon that a sudden and unexpected death often makes people see the victim in a far more flattering light than they ever did while the person was alive.
I went there
It can go a bit over the top at times, sometimes feeling like it is trying very hard to be vulgar. While I’m as much a fan of dirty jokes as anyone, they work best when placed in a sort of context. For the most part this isn’t a problem, and often it works very well indeed. The first half hour of the movie is where this weakness is mostly felt. As I stated earlier I do like the fact that Lance’s son is supposed to be unlikable, but I think that the director should have cut to the chase a bit faster, as I found myself struggling not to turn off the movie. Once the son dies though, the film begins to pick up the pace.
Celebrating someone’s death was never so satisfying…
While I credit director Goldthwait for his attempts at cinematography, some of the artier moments of the film feel shoehorned in for little reason. A few too many slow motion montages set to pop music. Also, the digital camera which the movie is shot on feels awfully amateurish. Yes the budget was low ($10,000,000), but many films have been shot on better cameras for far less.
World’s Greatest Dad is fairly uneven, but its high points are hilarious, and the film is even moving at points. Not a bad rental choice.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: when he catches his son masturbating
Take a Drink: anytime Zombies are mentioned
Take a Drink: anytime Bruce Hornsby is mentioned
Drink a Shot: for supremely unsettling Robin Williams sex