WORLD’S GREATEST DAD
BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
JULY 9, 2010
When viewing dark comedies, you find yourself laughing at certain scenarios you would not normally laugh at like war or death. “World’s Greatest Dad” brings you to the same point of discomfort.
Robin Williams plays Lance Clayton, a school teacher by day, failed novelist by night, with son Kyle (Daryl Sabara) that puts to shame the most sexist teen you may have known from high school. Williams is not respected by the principal, the staff, or the students, all while teetering on a relationship with fellow teacher, Claire (Morgan Murphy), making him the downtrodden, cynical Williams we all know and love.
Daryl Sabara’s performance is by far the holding point of the film, cussing at girls in the hallways (“Come on, baby, that (explicit)s not gonna eat itself.“) or expressing his contempt for just about everything: (“The only thing queerer than music are the people who like it”).
The film does not really start until Kyle accidentally kills himself masturbating and Lance is forced to take action. Unable to let Kyle’s legacy die in such an embarrassing fashion, Lance makes Kyle’s death look like a suicide and plants a deep, well-written suicide note that eventually gains the attention of the student body.
Lance is forced to live with the new celebrity-ism that comes with his son’s fake death, now having the most popular classes and the heart of the woman he loves. There is no way this could end badly…
The chemistry between all the characters is noteworthy, especially in scenes like the restaurant where all three main characters play off each other so brilliantly. The scene that sticks out most is Robin Williams on the Dr. Dana Show (an Oprah rip-off) where the should-be-sincere interview results in Williams laughing uncontrollably to all the nice, yet untrue, things said about his son.
Dark comedies are subtle creatures, where you are not sure whether you should laugh or cry. “World’s Greatest Dad” teeters that fine line. Williams proves himself brilliant put into a dramatic, yet satirical role, that appeared to be created just for him.
August 21, 2009
(for language, crude and sexual content, some drug use and disturbing images)