World's Greatest Dad

5 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars
It’s fair to say no one was expecting this. Directed by the guy who played Zed in the ‘Police Academy’ movies and starring that rubber-faced bastion of family-friendly Hollywood mush known as Robin Williams (pictured below), on the surface ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ reeks of direct-to-DVD disaster. Williams plays Lance Clayton, unpublished author, uninspiring teacher and unhappy father to the most obnoxious teenage brat on the planet. Kyle (Daryl Sabara, unrecognisable from his chubby-cheeked ‘Spy Kids’ days) is a grasping, hate-fuelled loser: when long-suffering Lance, possessed by compassion, quizzes his son on his idea of fun, Kyle replies, ‘I like looking at vaginas. All day, every day.’

There are shades of ‘Rushmore’ here – remember Bill Murray’s grotesque ginger kids? – and the script plays on the same sense of bittersweet longing and middle-aged desperation. But writer-director Bobcat Goldthwait’s vision is far grimmer than Wes Anderson’s: a better comparison might be Woody Allen’s bitter and twisted early ’90s movies, particularly the jawdroppingly cynical and foulmouthed ‘Deconstructing Harry’.

With Lance, Goldthwait has handed Williams the role of a lifetime, and he responds with the boldest, most heartfelt turn of his career: when tragedy strikes and the movie shifts from darkly funny to outright bleak, his warmth is the only thing preventing the film from spiralling into a black hole of misanthropy. That it avoids cynicism to become a warped but euphoric tribute to human endurance merely confirms the film as the bravest, smartest comedy of the year.

By: Tom Huddleston



Release details

Release date:
Friday September 24 2010
99 mins

Cast and crew

Bobcat Goldthwait
Bobcat Goldthwait
Robin Williams
Daryl Sabara
Alexie Gilmore
Evan Martin
Henry Simmons
Michael Thomas Moore
Jermaine Williams
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