World’s Greatest… Missed Opportunity?

World’s Greatest… Missed Opportunity?

Static Mass Rating: 2/5
Universal/Darko Entertainment 

Release date: January 31st 2011
Certificate (UK): 18
Running time: 99 minutes

Director: Bobcat Goldthwait

Cast: Robin Williams, Daryl Sabara, Morgan Murphy, Naomi Glick, Dan Spencer, Geoff Pierson, Henry Simmons, Zach Sanchez, Alexie Gilmore, Evan Martin, Ellie Jameson, Michael Moore

Although I’m not a parent, I can definitely see of the 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. I’ve seen my older brothers enjoy these moments with their own kids and it makes me think I could be a really good dad.

Yet, what do you do when those sweet lovely kids turn into teenagers? World’s Greatest Dad stars Robin Williams as Lance Clayton, a single unassertive dad with a son who’s a total nightmare to be around. He’s unpleasant, immature and insensitive; a typical teenager.

World’s Greatest Dad

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 is something of a joke and is constantly undermined by his peers.

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

World’s Greatest Dad

World’s Greatest Dad, produced by filmmaker Richard Kelly’s company Darko Entertainment, 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 just want to yell at for being such a weak loser while his girlfriend Claire is just plain selfish and someone I would 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 know it will reach an unavoidable conclusion where his cover gets 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.


  • Trailer (2.16)
  • Deleted Scenes (3.34)
  • Outtakes (2.17)
  • Deadly Syndrome – I Hope I Become A Ghost (4.12)
  • Behind The Scenes (18.34)

For Darko Entertainment, Worlds Greatest Dad comes after Southland Tales (2006) and before Rogues Gallery (aka Operation: Endgame) (2010), I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (2009) and The Box (2009).

For a production company I would definitely say the quality of their films peaked with their first effort but has steadily declined with each succeeding venture. That’s not to say this is a bad picture or that it’s put me off parenting, but it’s nothing that would make it “World’s Greatest” anything, except perhaps “missed opportunity”.

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