Thursday, August 4, 2011

World's Greatest Dad Has World's Suckiest Son

The truth will set you free, but also might make you naked.


I have admired Robin Williams since his Mork and Mindy days. He reminds me of my own dad, teddy bearish and wise, except for his past cocaine use. He has come a long way, of course, since his rainbow suspenders days. I really wanted a pair of those, by the way, but lacked the chutzpah required to pull off the look.
In World's Greatest Dad (2009), Williams is Lance Clayton, who holds the world’s two completely thankless jobs: he’s a parent AND an English teacher. His teenage son Kyle is a douche bag. I’m sorry, but his odiousness goes way beyond the usual adolescent personality defects. Kyle’s main extracurricular interest is watching hardcore German porn. At school he bullies girls. He's a horrible student. He thinks all music is "gay." Often trailed by his long-suffering, introverted friend Andrew, but he mainly just hangs out in front of his computer monitor.
Lance gets no love—or even begrudging like—from Kyle, but maintains a cheerful disposition.  His professional life is unfulfilling, too. Popular fellow teacher Mike gets published in The New Yorker on his first try, while Lance’s rejected manuscripts pile up on his desk at home. Perhaps worst of all, Lance’s hot art teacher girlfriend starts responding to Mike’s romantic overtures!
Things start to get really interesting for Lance when Kyle dies. Yes, World’s Greatest Dad is a comedy! A dark, dark comedy in which a strange twist alters the trajectory of Lance’s life for the better. Bobcat Goldwaite directs. Refreshingly unpretentious and sweet.

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