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Film Studies 101
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
TBC
Cast
Robin Williams
Daryl Sabara
Alexie Gilmore
Geoff Pierson .
Directors
Bobcat Goldthwait.
Screenwriters
Bobcat Goldthwait.
Running Time
99 minutes

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World's Greatest Dad
Like Father’s Day, but with more hypoxyphilia


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Plot
Lance Clayton (Williams) is an unpublished novelist and poetry teacher. He’s also a single father to Kyle (Sabara), a teen misfit into coprophilic porn. When Kyle dies in a wanking accident, Lance decides to fake it as a suicide and ghostwrites a heartfelt note. Little does he know it’ll indirectly give him the fame he’s always secretly sought as a writer...


Review
World's Greatest Dad
We don't see enough of Robin Williams anymore. Not the Williams of Old Dogs, Bicentennial Man and Patch Adams. No, him of Good Will Hunting, Insomnia and One Hour Photo: the one who remoulds himself to inhabit great characters rather than remoulding characters to fit his schtick. Happily, it’s the right Robin Williams who stars in Bobcat Goldthwait’s sophomore shock-com, World’s Greatest Dad.

We’ve seen how Williams’ twinkle-eyed features, so appropriate for a jester, can twist effectively to the benefit of menace and/or empathic drama. Here Goldthwait employs those features as a mask for Lance, English teacher and unpublished writer, who has found himself shuffling around midlife’s cul-de-sac. Lance smiles that impish smile, but the eye twinkles are pure rhinestone. He’s going through the motions — even dabbling in a clandestine affair with a sexy fellow teacher (Alexie Gilmore) — but he’s a man leeched of joy, much of the leeching done by his abhorrent teenage son. And Williams (down)plays it brilliantly.

He’s let down a little by Goldthwait himself, though. World’s Greatest Dad is single-threaded, and the concept is pulled too taut — until it snaps with a desperately conventional ending. By making his central idea as shocking as possible, he’s hoping we won’t notice it’s the only idea. So, just as his previous flick, Sleeping Dogs Lie, was about a woman trying to live with the guilty secret that she gave her pooch a blowjob, World’s Greatest Dad is about a man faking his son’s suicide note, thereby artificially inflating his own status with his peers. It’s a great concept, zig-zagging between heart-splintering tragedy and dark comedy.

But where are the subplots? The other characters? The girlfriend, Kyle’s only buddy, the odd lady next-door… Their arcs are faint doodles compared with the bold strokes lavished on Lance. Goldthwait should have spent more time giving the broader story more weight than overplaying the main conceit. Isn’t it enough that Kyle is an artless, sweaty blob without Goldthwait repeatedly reminding us he’s into German scheisse porn? Although having his self-asphyxiating death-wank occur over his phone-camera up-skirt shots of Lance’s girlfriend is a nice touch. ‘Nice’ being the wrong word…


Verdict
Odd, confident, challenging, and featuring a brilliant turn by Williams. If only there was just a little more to it.


Reviewed by Dan Jolin

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for World's Greatest Dad
Empire Star Rating

Unique

I thoroughly enjoyed parts of this movie. The central thesis on its own was awesome, but I think the reviewer hit it right on the nose in stating that the concept is pulled too taut. Robin Williams is on top of his game, but I was truly impressed with Daryl Sabara. It's my first time having seen him in a movie. He makes you hate him with every fiber of your being - something easier said than done. It goes a little overboard during the last 1/3 or so and the ending is pretty much what you'd ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Turd Ferguson at 16:48, 14 December 2011 | Report This Post


Worlds Greatest Dad

Thought this film would be average.... maybe with a nice turn from Williams...like Death to smoochy! Instead I got two knock out performances... Robin Williams is brilliant, silent, funny, harsh, and vulnerable. Really rather heartbreaking. He grounds the film with a simple genuine performance. But for me the show stealer was Daryl Sabara Is very hard to be a real life shit in a film, alot of people try and come across as panto villain or as a crap actor. Sabara did not do either. He was s... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by kirk at 15:00, 16 May 2011 | Report This Post


WOW................

Worlds greatest dad features a brilliant turn from Williams and a smart script by Goldwaith, the film is entertaining dangerous,odd,disturbing and brilliant with a finale that makes you think, truly a gem, sure too be a cult classic. Lance Clayton brilliantly played by Williams has an asshole of a son who dies in a wanking accident too put it firmly. Carls death is both tragic and beatiful, the beatiful part being brought in by Williams touching performance as he grieves the loss of his son who... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lewisb548 at 18:18, 04 April 2011 | Report This Post



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