Mrs. Doubtfire was such a good nanny but I guess as a daddy, she just sucked.
Lance Clayton (Robin Williams) is a high school poetry teacher in Seattle, Washington and is having a few problems. He also has possibly the worst son ever in Kyle (Daryl Sabara) who just hates everything, everybody (except his only friend Andrew), and only love beating off to porn all day. All of that beating off eventually gets him killed, and Lance (as all good fathers do) tries to cover it up as a suicide and writes his note for him.
It’s pretty strange to think about Bobcat Goldthwait as a writer/director but he’s actually pretty good at both. It also helps that he doesn’t feel the need to come out in-front of the camera and do his annoying voice. Thank God for that, people. Thank God, for that.
The premise right up there is pretty damn dark. Death is a pretty grim subject to talk about in the first place, but then to go forward with the story where the Dad is pretty much making all of this fame because of it on purpose, then that’s a little too dark. Is it? Surprisingly, it’s a very well-written film that definitely takes your mind off of what this film may be talking about in the first place. The film itself is definitely a dark comedy but it’s also one of the funnier ones I have seen in quite some time. Yeah, there is a couple of laughs where you can tell that this is pretty much a satire on people who somehow do total 180’s once death happens, but there’s also plenty of comedy that just works because a lot of this stuff is funny. That’s right people, suicide and death are in the same movie and are still both pretty funny.
It’s not all about being funny, though, because the film actually has a lot to say if you can believe it or not. There is a lot of insight into what it is to be a father and how hard it is for so many parents out there and to just sit there, and try their damn near hardest to get along with their kids but in the end, it never works out. I guess a lot of what goes on here (when the kid is alive) is what goes on in my life with my parents but it’s still very true and refreshing to see a movie show something that is very realistic even though a premise like this could only go so far. However, the film also talks about a bunch of other topics like death, suicide, family, and sex and they actually come together in a very strong way to where you can see the satire that Goldthwait but still never allow it to get in the way of the story itself. Nice job my man Bobcat. Freakin’ cool name.
Problem with this story is that it’s emotional side never really did anything for me. I think the story seems to get a little too dark and mean because even though a dude like Lance may be effed up with his life, I definitely don’t think he would ever go so far as to live off of the fame of his kid’s death. Then again, you never know what sort of parents actually do such a thing as this and I wouldn’t be surprised if a story like this comes up on the news soon. Also, a lot of Bobcat’s emotional stuff revolves around a bunch of indie music played to some montage that almost makes it seem like a music video. Bobcat does have a nice taste in music, but maybe it was placed in the flick a little too much except for one key track Queen and David Bowie. Come on, you all know the song.
What really had me going for this flick was the performance here from Robin Williams as Lance Clayton. Just recently, I watched ‘Good Will Hunting’ with my Theology class and it made me realize just how great of an actor Williams can be when he isn’t depending on doing the same old goofy noises and faces for a laugh or two. That shit always annoys me but he tones it down perfectly here, for a character that has a pretty shitty life. His character may do some terrible things throughout this flick, but Williams makes this guy so likable by just being a normal, everyday dude with barely any flash or zing to his performance. He’s pretty straight-forward the whole way through and it worked not only for this character, but for this movie and gave me somebody I could feel something for even though he didn’t have the best morals.
I was also very surprised by how great Daryl Sabara was as his son. This is the same little kid from ‘Spy Kids’ and I have to say that he seems like he has some potential to be a big star one of these days because the scenes he has with Williams here, are awesome and some of the best of the film. Shame he gets killed off so quickly though because I would have definitely loved to see more of him and Williams just cussing the hell out of each other. Reminded me of the verbal fights me and my fasha had. Instead those ones would usually just lead into fists being thrown.
Consensus: Since World’s Greatest Dad is so dark and messed up, there isn’t a lot of emotional connection here, but Goldthwait’s writing is very sharp, very funny, and also very true in the way certain people treat death and treat the dead when they start to remember them.