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World's Greatest Dad

There are a lot of things that come to mind after viewing the new film World’s Greatest Dad.

First thing to know, it’s the new dark comedy from director Bobcat Goldthwait starring Robin Williams, pushing the boundary of all that is right in conventional films. But Dad isn’t a conventional film, and frankly it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen all year. It’s funny, raunchy, poignant, stylistic and thought provoking and it’s the film that transcends Bobcat Goldthwait from the once ignored comic from the Police Academy films to one of the smartest directors to watch in years to come. But probably the strongest thing that comes to mind after viewing this movie is simply one word: Wow.

World’s Greatest Dad is the story of high school poetry teacher and struggling author Lance Clayton. Lance dreams of writing something so well that it would touch the world and make him a boatload of money. However, after rejection letter upon rejection letter comes in, he’d just be happy if he doesn’t end up alone.

In the meantime, he’s surrounded by a set of characters that daily test the man’s limits. Principal Anderson (Geoffrey Pierson) is constantly on Lance to increase his class’s enrollment, keeping the teacher firmly under his thumb. Lance also has an undercover lover in art teacher Claire (The sexy Alexie Gilmore), who may or may not be hanging out with the hotter and younger creative writing teacher Mike (Henry Simmons). The main thorn in Lance’s side is his troublesome internet porn loving son Kyle (Former Spy Kid Daryl Sabara). With all these distractions, Lance remains an upbeat hopeful schlub still following his dream.

From this point, there’s an important thing to know about World’s Greatest Dad. From here on out, do NOT read any other descriptions of the film because of the massive spoilers that most movie descriptions of this film have given out. The impact of this film comes in a major plot point halfway through the film and knowing it’s coming defuses some of the kick this movie delivers. It’s best to go into World’s Greatest Dad just knowing the perimeter of the film and slowly drifting into the heart of it.

With that being said, an event happens in Lance’s life that changes everything. He begins questioning his position in life and rides a dark wave that may lead him to everything he’s ever wanted. But it begins to change him and soon Lance isn’t too sure he made the right decision.

World’s Greatest Dad is at its best when in the hands of Goldthwait and Williams. From the first frame of the film, it’s obviously all Goldthwait (who also wrote the film), but throughout we’re all reminded why Robin Williams is an Oscar winner and not just the crossdresser from Mrs. Doubtfire. Williams is outstanding in this film and truly conveys a man on a personal journey. Goldthwait’s wit is all over this film in the snappy writing and with small directorial choices that actually bring humanity to an inhumane film.

Probably the reason this movie affected me as much as it did was its ability to say something without actually saying it. A lot of films try to beat you over the head with a message, but Dad puts the pieces right there in front of you and forces you to put them all together. Dad speaks on popularity issues, fame, inclusion and exclusion and family. It’s smartly written and it says so much.

It’s definitely an indie film with indie film sensibilities but to the casual viewer it works as just good drama. There are a lot of sexual references in the film but nothing overly graphic, yet in one hilarious scene, great, touching drama is obtained through the dirtiest of references.

World’s Greatest Dad is an outstanding achievement from Goldthwait and Williams and one of the year’s best films. In limited release throughout the country now, do yourself a favor and give it a viewing while it’s still in theatres.

Lon Lopez

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