Monday 31 January 2011


Out now on DVD is the new Robin Williams starring, Bobcat Goldthwait directed black comedy, World's Greatest Dad.
Watch the trailer and read my spoiler free review, after the jump...

Unable to find a publisher for any of his books, Lance Clayton (Robin Williams) is wasting his life working as a high school poetry teacher. Among the students at the school is Lance's obnoxious teenage son Kyle (Daryl Sabara), a boy who alienates everyone he comes in contact with and whose only hobby is masturbating to increasingly hardcore pornography. If Lance's life wasn't bad enough already, his girlfriend Claire has been spending a lot of time with his younger, sexier co-worker, but after a tragic accident he's given the opportunity to show Claire and the world what a skilled writer he really is.

His son Kyle really is the most horrible, obnoxious, hate-filled, insolent child; in short, the worst son you could ever wish for. Unwilling to listen to his father's advice or make any attempt to be liked by his fellow classmates, you can't help but hope something bad happens to him. It's not just a stage that he's going to grow out of, Kyle really is just a nasty human being. Former Spy Kids moppet Daryl Sabara should be commended for bringing such a easily despicable character to life.

As the teacher yearning to release his creative potential, Robin Williams not only gives his best comic performance in years, but is also able to give his character a lot of pathos. Some of the situations Lance finds himself in are beyond a parents worst nightmare, and Williams' performance can be quite moving at times. Lance wants to be the greatest dad that Kyle could ever need, but when he's given the one chance to prove himself it leads to some unforeseen consequences.

World's Greatest Dad is the third feature film from director Bobcat Goldthwait, better known in my house as Zed from Police Academy 2, 3 and 4. He's parlayed his successful stand-up and acting roles into a promising directorial career, complete with a uniquely pitch black sense of humour that are a hallmark of his films. Anyone who is familiar with the premise for his previous film Sleeping Dogs will be aware that Bobcat Goldthwait likes to deal with the most socially awkward of situations, and World's Greatest Dad doesn't stop short of placing its characters in some twisted and uncomfortable places.

World's Greatest Dad may feature an unconventional family unit in meltdown, an unappreciated man headed towards a midlife crisis and a community struggling to deal with a tragedy, but Goldthwait is able to gain a surprising amount of comedy from its extremely dark premise. There's parallels to be drawn with other high school set black comedies (notably Heathers), but it still has the capacity to shock you with its left field approach.

This is dark, dark comedy at its most hilarious, and it deserves to find itself an open minded and appreciative audience.


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