World’s Greatest Dad, A Review by Kiara Moore
World’s Greatest Dad featuring Robin Williams and Daryl Sobara (Spy Kids) is a black comedy that has a lot of heart and deftly balances the absurd and the obscene with poignancy that creates an affecting portrayal of death, family, and idolization of those who pass on.
Robin William’s character Lance’s life barely registers as mediocre. On the surface, he has everything-a son, a job, and a love life but a closer look shows that they all fall short.
His son Kyle loathes him, and when he spends time with Kyle, he gives his Dad nothing but a disparaging attitude and obscene comments. His almost girlfriend, Nicole, who is extremely affectionate (in private) doesn’t seem to want to be seen out as a couple in public. He’s a writer but every single thing he’s ever written has been rejected. At his job, he teaches a poetry class but to a dolefully small group of unenthusiastic and dull-faced students. A nice guy but a pushover he is stuck in the doldrums, stagnant and inert.
But then his son dies. A horrible and disturbing freak accident, Lance covers up Kyle’s death to preserve his son’s dignity and forges a moving suicide note.
Lance’s life suddenly changes when Kyle’s “suicide note” penned by him garners a lot of attention and catapults Lance into the spotlight and eventually, he becomes the focus of the media.
Lance finally experiences and basks in the fame and admiration he’s always wanted as people show him attention in the form of worshipful sympathy, and he gets what he’s always wanted, recognition as a writer (even if everyone thinks that Kyle wrote it)
What follows in the movie, is a look into human nature-specifically, our response to people who have passed on, how they transcend beyond who they really were in life and how they become idolized figures whose legacy is shaped to fit individual’s people needs.
Kyle, a revolting individual who spews nothing but obscenities and hatred towards everyone was loved by no one but his father and his faithful sidekick Andrew. Both of whom he mistreated, but in death Kyle is elevated to mythic proportions of a benign, misunderstood, sensitive youth.
This film is definitely worth a watch even if just to see Robin Williams. I always enjoy seeing the versatile Williams in roles that stray away from the friendly, charming, sentimental Patch Adams persona.
Williams carries the delicate complexity of Lance in a way that makes the character’s contemptible actions of profiting from his son’s death sympathetic and understandable.
The only gripe I have with the film is that at some points it seems heavy-handed and seemed to scream “look at me I’m making commentary about society!” Also, the ending was immensely satisfying but it did seem to wrap too neatly.
Overall, I enjoyed the concept of the movie and I think it handled it in an interesting way. Media and post-humuous celebrity worship has been explored before but this movie does it in a a funny and stirring way.