17 December 2009 | Michael_Elliott
Nice Black Comedy for Williams and Bobcat
World's Greatest Dad (2009)
*** (out of 4)
One of the blackest of all black comedies features Robin Williams as Lance, a failed teacher, failed boyfriend and failed father to an obnoxious pervert (Daryl Sabara) who masturbates too much, is hated by everyone and who has no real purpose in life. After a tragedy and a lie the father must then come to terms with something that I won't ruin here. When people think of Goldthwait, 99% of them are going to think of the crazy guy from the POLICE ACADEMY films and only 1% are going to know him as a filmmaker. SHAKES THE CLOWN has gained a cult following over the years and there's no doubt that this film will eventually be looked at as not a great movie but one that after watching you'll want to stand up and applaud the filmmakers for delivering something completely original and different. It's hard to really describe this movie because it's best that you go into it without knowing all of the details and how we get to the events in the second half. I'm sure you could show this movie to a hundred people and each one of them would walk away feeling the movie was about something different. I think the film certainly shines the spotlight on parenthood, teen suicide and how we worship celebs and how those celebs even become famous. The movie has so many layers that people are going to take different things away from it but I really respected the comedy of the first half and then the drama of the second. The first half of the movie is full of vulgar situations as the loser son offends one person after another and the viewer can't help but hate him. There's never an attempt to make us like him and that's usually not a good thing in a comedy if you hate the leading man. We're not even given a reason to like the father played by Williams, although I'm sure one could feel sorry for him because of how big of a loser he is to everyone around him. If you do find yourself caring for him then that might change after the events in the second half of the movie. Everyone was informed about Williams and his full frontal nudity but more people should really look at his terrific performance. I guess raw might be a simple word but the entire Williams persona is cleaned away and we're seeing a performance from him that we haven't seen before. I've always felt that he was a better dramatic actor than a comedic one but he handles both sides extremely well here. Sabara is just as great as the perverted son and Alexie Gilmore is wonderful as Williams' girlfriend. The film hits on all sorts of rather taboo subjects but for the most part is looks them directly in the face and doesn't back down. I'm sure the subject matter might be too much for certain film fans but I think those looking for a rather brave and original piece of film-making is going to at least respect what we get here even if they find themselves feeling uncomfortable.