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World’s Greatest Dad (2009)

January 25, 2010

VERDICT:
8/10 Ghost Writers

The best thing Robin Williams has done in ages. Yup, even better than Old Dogs.

World’s Greatest Dad is about a High School English teacher with dreams of becoming a big time published author. When his estranged a-hole, porn addict son accidentally kills himself via autoerotic asphyxiation (Google that at your own discretion), like any good dad he covers it up as a suicide and writes up a heartfelt suicide note for him. The note ends up getting published in the school newspaper, it becomes a huge hit with students and faculty alike, and the dad decides to capitalize on his newfound fame despite how totally wrong it is by writing even more stuff under his son’s name.

I’ve tried describing this movie to a couple other people since I saw it and the general reaction hasn’t exactly resulted in uproarious laughter. As it usually goes with movies about suicide, this sucker is pretty dark and isn’t going to a draw the same kinda crowd as Paul Blart. It’s grim, it’s messed up, it’s twisted, but it’s also surprisingly honest and freakin’ hilarious.

It’s written and directed by, of all people, one Bobcat Goldthwait – of Police Academy 2 fame – a guy who I’ve always found to be annoying as all hell until now. For those who don’t know the guy, you’re not missing much, but what can I say, turns out he’s a really funny dude when he’s not in front of the camera and talking in that idiotic voice. The script is really well-written, not only as a dark comedy but also in regards to its insights on teen angst, parenting and fame, and he happens to be a pretty solid director, too. The movie turns into a music video here and there, but whatever, this guy has redeemed himself and I am happy to have my foot in my mouth right now.

That was shocker number one for me, shocker number two here is Robin Williams.

When it comes to Robin and comedy, I’m not on the bandwagon. When he’s being serious, he is awesome, but with the exception of Mrs. Doubtfire, his whole “mental patient on speed” shtick drives me up the goddamn wall. An absolutely infuriating experience to be subjected to in every regard. But, thank the lord, such is not the case with World’s Greatest Dad.

He tones it down and pulls off acting like a normal guy with a shitty life with ease. For all his faults, I liked him right off the bat, it’s one of the better performances I’ve seen all year and he is a rip from start to finish. It’s all in the delivery, it’s not flashy or zany, and it’s off-kilter roles like these that renew my faith in Robin. I’d take him in a cursing match with his son over Good Morning, Vietnam any day.

The son is also great, too. Never seen Daryl Sabara in anything else before, but it’s too bad he dies because the dialogue between him and Robin is some of the best stuff in the movie.

I don’t know, it’s great to come across comedies like this that aren’t safe and revel in the venom thats coursing through its veins. The first Act is fantastic, the final Act finishes up fantastically, but World’s Greatest Dad‘s biggest weakness is its second Act that drags on and had me checking my watch more times than I would have liked. The other thing is that this one may very well be a little too dark for some of the more innocent viewers out there. Go re-read that synopsis up there, if you’re still wincing at it, guessing this might not be your thing.

But hey, if you’re up for a choice dark comedy along the lines of something like Observe and Report, slap this sucker on the Netflix queue.

Keep it up, Robin. You and Bobcat are a damn good team.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2010 6:51 am

    this looks like it could be better than Zeroes

    • January 25, 2010 9:38 am

      Whoa whoa whoa, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

  2. Branden permalink
    January 25, 2010 3:33 pm

    I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. I was so glad that the asshole teen died, he was vile. I wasn’t sad to see him go. The movie was a solid movie for both Robin and Bobcat. Plus, you saw Robin William’s junk. (I still don’t get that sequence by the way.)

    • January 25, 2010 4:53 pm

      Haha, he was such a p.o.s., but I was kinda sad to see him go all the same, thought he was a good counterpoint to Robin. And I don’t really know what that sequence meant either, maybe a reference back to him being on the diving team in high school? Idk, totally dug it nonetheless.

  3. nothatwasacompliment permalink
    January 25, 2010 10:22 pm

    i was a little on the fence with this one. didn’t love it, but thought it was alright.

    though, i think we can all agree that the kid was intolerable.

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