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World’s Greatest Dad

World’s Greatest Dad

By Patrick Samuel • June 16th, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 3/5
Universal/Darko Entertainment

Original release: August 21st, 2009
Running time: 99 minutes

Writer and director: Bobcat Goldthwait

Cast: Robin Williams, Alexie Gilmore, Daryl Sabara

World’s Greatest Dad

Although I’m not a parent, I can see some of the challenges and joys being one can bring. A child’s first smile, their first steps, their first words. The day they come home from school with a masterpiece made from paper, macaroni and glue for you to pin up on the refrigerator. Maybe even teaching them to throw a ball, ride a bike or explaining why running with scissors or trying to flush the poor cat down the toilet isn’t such a good idea. I’ve seen my older brothers experiencing these moments with their own kids and it makes me think I could be a really good dad. But what do you do when those sweet lovely kids turn into teenagers?

World’s Greatest Dad stars Robin Williams as Lance Clayton, a single dad with a son who’s a total nightmare to be around. The son in question is Kyle (Daryl Sabara), he’s unpleasant, immature and insensitive; a typical teenager. Needless to say, Lance is a miserable fellow, even if he doesn’t realise it. He’s a high school teacher and a writer who’s never been published, but he dreams of it happening one day. He’s dating art teacher Claire (Alexie Gilmore), but she won’t acknowledge their relationship publicly. At school he’s something of a joke and is constantly undermined by his peers.

All round, it’s a glum life for him but a sudden tragedy gives him the opportunity to put things right. He’ll find fame, gain respect and finally turn Kyle into the one he always wanted… if he can only live with the knowledge of how it all happened.

Produced by Richard Kelly’s company Darko Entertainment, World’s Greatest Dad is something of a mixed bag of treats. They are some really great moments and scenes where the acting and script really shine, but there are also some parts which leave a really sour taste in your mouth.

World’s Greatest Dad

For the most part the characters are not very likable. Lance is the kind of guy you want to yell at for being such a loser while his girlfriend Claire is just plain selfish and someone I’d go out of my way to avoid even talking to.

When we get to Kyle though I don’t think there are enough adjectives to describe just how much I truly disliked him. He’s a pot smoking pervert who berates his father and talks down to his one friend in the world. This makes for some extremely awkward moments, not least of all when Lance walks in on him masturbating in his room, but the story strongly relies on us not liking him.

As Lance bumbles his way through one lie after the next to cover up his actions, we World’s Greatest Dadknow it’ll reach an unavoidable conclusion where his cover’s blown. This is when the film goes for the jugular in a poignant climax which shows Williams is fully able to keep his head above water while all else falters.

It’s certainly not a film for everyone, and maybe not the best one to put on after lunch for the family on Father’s Day, but it may strike a chord with audiences familiar with black comedy or some of the films produced by Darko Entertainment or God Bless America (2011), also written and directed by Bobcat_Goldthwait. As for Robin Williams, it’s sometimes hard to remember his days of Mork & Mindy with so many serious roles in the past couple of decades, but this one shows he still has a natural talent when it comes to comedic timing.

While it certainly doesn’t put me off parenthood, World’s Greatest Dad might give me pause for thought it comes to handling them as teenagers, but cases like Kyle Clayton are thankfully too far and in between to worry too much about right now.

World’s Greatest Dad

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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