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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

World’s Greatest Dad (2009)


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.

8/10=Matinee!!

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10 responses to “World’s Greatest Dad (2009)

  1. ckckred November 1, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I’ve seen this playing on TV multiple times but haven’t watched more than a minute of it. Guess I should watch the entire movie at some point. Nice review.

  2. filmhipster November 1, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Never even heard of this…

  3. Evan Crean November 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Met Bobcat this year. Really cool dude and really hilarious. His voice that he does in movies and whatnot is just an exaggeration of his normal one. n real life he’s not annoying. Just watched this myself and although I enjoyed it, I agree that the emotional parts didn’t hit me as hard. The film was enjoyable for its dark qualities and its fantastic satire, but the music wasn’t that great (aside from Under Pressure). I think Bobcat’s more recent film God Bless America is much more polished. If you haven’t seen it yet, definitely check it out, because personally I prefer it to World’s Greatest Dad.

    • CMrok93 November 5, 2012 at 4:13 am

      I have seen it and I have to say, it’s alright but the message does seem a bit too obvious for what it’s trying to say and can get a little bit crazy with where it’s going. But, still a more-polished film over this one.

  4. Dave Enkosky November 2, 2012 at 12:29 am

    I absolutely loved this movie. It really made me respect Bobcat.

  5. Chip Lary November 5, 2012 at 12:08 am

    I agree with everything you wrote on how good the film is, how good Williams’ performance is, and how dark the film can be. If you haven’t seen Goldthwait’s earlier film Sleeping Dogs Lie, I definitely recommend it based on your liking for this one. Both go places that, on the surface, you wouldn’t believe you’d like, but both managed to win me over.

    For what it’s worth: it’s been a couple years since I saw this, but my memory of Williams’ character’s actions isn’t to get fame for himself, but to sort of enshrine his son so that people remember him (the son) because of how much he (Williams) cared for him.

    • CMrok93 November 5, 2012 at 4:14 am

      It’s sort of both if you think about it, but who really knows. All I know is that the story is pretty twisted and goes into some very, very dark areas that i did not expect in the least-bit.

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