World’s Greatest Dad (review)

When Bobcat Goldthwait writes and directs a feature film, we should probably expect something a little… different. And — *whew* — that’s what this pitch-black comedy offers. Lance Clayton (Robin Williams: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian) is a schoolteacher, a failed writer, and father to teenaged Kyle (Daryl Sabara, one of the Spy Kids, almost all grown up), who may be the most obnoxious, most disgusting, dumbest, crudest teenager ever depicted on film. The Clayton boys have a contentious relationship: Dad just wants to connect with his son (Mom died, leaving the two alone with each other), and the kid just wants to be left alone to masturbate, which appears to be the only thing he’s any good at. The first 40 minutes of the film are so revolting that I almost stopped watching: Kyle’s endless vulgarity is bad enough, but Lance’s obsequiousness in the face of his loathsome offspring and inability to parent are even worse. Could any of this possibly have a point? Ah, but then Goldthwait throws a dramatic spanner into the works, and not only won’t you be able to believe that he went there, you won’t be able to believe that he’s gonna take it even further beyond that. Is it a satire that turns the parasitical parent-child relationship on its head? Is it a satire on social manipulation? It’s both. I do wish, however, that how it ends was as outrageous as how it starts. (also available to watch at Amazon on Demand)

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