This week on Netflix I watched World’s Greatest Dad on instant queue. I am not recommending this movie to everybody because, speaking honestly, this movie is not for everybody. An appreciation for dark humor is essential to understand what makes this film so oddly great. Robin Williams starts as one of the most depressing men on the planet. Lance is an English teacher that has been trying to start a writing career for years. With a class that students won’t sign up for, no nibbles from publishers, a wife that left him and a son he can’t connect with, Lance is in danger of losing his job and his life. The only positive aspect of his life is his secret relationship with a fellow teacher, Claire (Alexie Gilmore). This only ray of sunshine in his life disappears when Claire starts fliriting with the new, cool English teacher whose class is leaching students from Lance’s.
As Lance attempts to connect with his son Kyle (Daryl Sabara) it becomes increasingly obvious that Kyle is an asshole. His only friend being a nerdy son of an alcoholic, Kyle spends his time insulting people (mainly his father) and looking at porn. In a freak, auto-erotic accident, Kyle dies which gives Lance a perverse stroke of luck. Embarrassed by his sons death, Lance makes it look like a suicide and ghost writes his son’s suicide note. The note becomes widely revered for its complex and deep writing. Lance goes on to write a journal as if it was written by his dead son and lives his professional dream vicariously through his son. For a brief period, a false sense of happiness ensued but everything goes to shit during the movie’s climax.
Despite the depressing tone of this review and the film itself, it is very funny. The humor is, as I mentioned, very dark but it is every present. The humor does more than just make you laugh, it’s there to comment on the malleability of society. When he was alive, Kyle was an asshole but a few well written sentences after his death made everybody’s memory of him change. Suddenly people that wouldn’t even talk to Kyle were falling in love with him and acting like they were best friends. The tragedy has the same effect on Lance, suddenly making him the cool teacher. Students and colleagues form fake relationships with him that shatter the moment they are tried or tested.
This film can be viewed on two different levels. If you don’t want to think it is a funny yet depressing film starring Robin Williams. On a completely different level the film crafts some fairly heavy statements about society, a person’s ability to cope with loss and, in a very bass ackwards way, a person’s sense of memory and individuality. I give the film a 7 out of 10 and recommend it to those that can and appreciate dark humor.
Oh, and if you’ve ever wanted to see Robin Williams jump naked off a high dive (without seeing his naughty bits) then this is the movie for you.
Ok, you might see his naughty bits for a split second