by Paulie Walnuts
So I saw Robin Williams’ penis today.
Oops. I just gave away the ending…
“Worlds’ Greatest Dad,” written and directed by the eccentric Bobcat Goldthwait, is about a man so desperate to become a well-known author that he uses his son’s death by masturbation/strangulation (a-la David Carradine, R.I.P.) to his benefit. Kyle, played by Daryl Sabara (best known as Juni from the “Spy Kids” series), is Lance’s (Williams) only child. Kyle is, for lack of a better term, a douche.
The teen treats people terribly. As alluded to by the means by which he eventually dies, he is a pervert. Besides Lance and Kyle’s only friend, a curiously quiet and humble kid named Andrew, no one likes him. And no one should.
However, when Lance returns home after a date, he finds Kyle with his pants around his ankles, strangled to death, naughty pictures on the computer screen. Because of the humiliating way in which Kyle has died, and because Lance is so overcome by grief, the distraught father makes it look as if Kyle has killed himself by hanging in his closet. Lance then proceeds to write a long, thought-provoking suicide note and subsequently passes it off as his son’s.
Amazingly, the note becomes a topic of interest, and is eventually released to the public. Kyle’s classmates, who clearly did not care for him early on, suddenly become enthralled by the emotional note. This is when things start getting bad for Lance.
Lance, however, cannot help but feel rejuvenated by the fake note’s success, and decides to write and release an entire journal of Kyle’s thoughts. Soon, he has publishers, agents, and even television hosts breathing down his neck, each of them inspired by the profound intelligence with which Kyle’s journals are written. The school even decides to name the library after Kyle in honor of him.
“World’s Greatest Dad” is one of those movies that is painful to watch, but somehow both tragic and hilarious at the same time. Lance has good intentions, and is wracked by guilt as he becomes more and more successful, but he soon learns that he cannot have his cake and eat it, too; he must choose to either come clean or ride out the success. The whole thing comes to a head when he is scheduled to give an acceptance speech and he finds himself in need of making a difficult decision.
This film toys with both grief and happiness. It is, in the end, the story of a father who loves his son unconditionally, even when the feeling is clearly not reciprocated. It paints a picture of what grief and embarrassment can lead us to do in our humanness. It is a story of mistakes, failures, and unexpected successes. It is a story of social hypocrisy and one man’s journey to overcome it.
My rating: 3.5 stars. This film is definitely worth a watch. It is quirky, a bit off-kilter and odd, but intelligent and thought-provoking. Check it out!