Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Review - World's Greatest Dad

A dark comedy that follows Lance Clayton, a writer who has never published anything and father of a perverted foul-mouthed teenager who wants nothing to do with his dad. His poetry class is threatend of closure with very low student registration and his affections for a co-worker go un-matched, when she won't allow their relationship to be brought public. Lance's life however, makes a dramatic turn around after a freak accident, leaving him to learn that sometimes what we have most dreamt about becoming, isn't necessarily what will make us happy.

Bobcat Goldthwait both wrote and directed this dark mundane comedy about a man who realizes that being lonely is not necessarily the same as being alone. "World's Greatest Dad" is oftenly crass, deeply cynical, but most of all is filled with a surprising amount of heart. The film does move at a sluggish pace for only a 99 minute movie, but that goes unnoticed by the superior amount of character development throughout "World's Greatest Dad." Robin Williams delivers one of his best performances since The Fisher King ressurecting a cornucopia of emotions that leave you stunned by the end of the film.

"World's Greatest Dad" isn't at all the film I was expecting. Based off the trailers, I was expecting a very dark satirical comedy that focused on a father and his distant son, however "World's Greatest Dad" takes a unexpected turn that ended up being more enjoyable than what I anticipated. The film focuses on Lance Clayton's (Robin Williams) emotions and regrets in both a hysterical and meloncholy way. Looking at his odd relationship with his perverted teenage son, his on-and-off again relationship with a co-worker (Alexie Gilmore) and the resentment of a failed writing career. Each angle of his life is completely bittersweet and it is both Bobcat Goldthwait's powerful script and Williams flawless performance that combines to make "World's Greatest Dad" a sleeper hit of the year.

Bobcat Goldthwait deserves high marks for the deeply cynical script. I loved his dark humor and dry wit for meaningful emotions. He handles the 180 "World's Greatest Dad" takes with absolute percision and keeps the film moving despite the shocking turn of events. The story keeps a somber tone throughout, but it is delicatley sprinkled with hilariously sarcastic dialogue that Robin Willaims and the rest of the cast flourish in. The characters Goldthwait created within "World's Greatest Dad" are also very well written. Each character has his or her own quark, but are matched with a truely natural capacity, making "World's Greatest Dad" a substantial character driven film.

In the character of Lance Clayton, Robin Williams grabs the viewer attention instantly with his plight and unique pessimism on his son and his own life. Williams effortlessly works his way through Goldthwait's remarkable script handling the gritty dialogue and situations with both wit and charm. Williams furthermore manages the abrasive dialogue in such an elegant way it is sure to have you laughing more than once. It is very important for the viewer to care about Lance Clayton in this film and Williams easily tackles the task. He carries the film all the way through the twists and turns, making for both a laugh out loud and emotionally moving event.

Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids) is perfect as Kyle Clayton, Lance's son. He takes on the role of the anti-social perverted teen fasinated by sex flawlessly. Sabara who definately proves with this role, he has grown up since the Spy Kids days, delivers some of the more obscene dialogue in a truely surprising fashion. He shows a knack for sarcasm that is rare is young talent and his performance left me with optimism for the now 17 yr-old actor.

The majority of the rest of the characters only are there to fuel the fire of Lance's cynicism and they each are nicely played by Geoffrey Pierson, Tony V., Lorraine Nicholson and Richard Scott. One performance that did become a bit gratting was Alexie Gilmore as Claire, the love interest to both Lance Clayton and Mike Lane played by Henry Simmons. Gilmore's character seemed specifically written to become terribly annoying as the film progressed. Her character development matched Lance's personal feelings towards the co-worker, and while the development worked on film, her character became the only portion of "World's Greatest Dad" that bothered me.

Overall "World's Greatest Dad" was a film that I expected to enjoy and definately did. The trailers out there are misleading and I am interested to see how well this film is recieved. I generally cling to dark comedies and here with "World's Greatest Dad" it's no different. I throughly loved Goldthwait's writing and directing from start to finish. The story is completely engrossing and held my attention through it's darkest and most obscene moments as well as the lighter ones. It is a film that despite being mundane and dreary, leaves the viewer with a refreshed sense of optimism and inspiration. Finally, "World's Greatest Dad" is a nice change of pace from Robin Williams returning to adult humor and delivering a performance that reminds why we use to hold him in such high regard. If you get a chance, see "World's Greatest Dad."