"World's Greatest Dad"
I have to confess, when I heard "world's greatest dad" plus "Robin Williams", I thought, oh god, he's at it again, doing another one of those schlumpy-guy-awakens-to-life generic, saccharine comedies... Has Williams no self-respect left? But, oh, how wrong I was -- this is one film that you shouldn't judge by looking at its cover.
Written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwaite, this is the darkest of dark comedies, with Williams playing a soul-crushed, unloved, disillusioned high-school English teacher, a guy who was (and still is) an aspiring writer, but who has long since been crushed by life. A harried single parent, he has about the worst teenage son imaginable, a terrifyingly realistic creep of a teen, a kid who has no respect for his father, or for anyone else, and who is devoted to making life as miserable for his dad as it is for him. The set-up is deliberate and slow -- but once the set-up is complete, the way in which the film lurches sideways is completely unexpected. Kudos goes to Goldthwaite: much of the humor a bit too on-the-nose, but it's compelling nonetheless, and the nastiness is tempered by real wit and depth, and a willingness to delve into real darkness. It's not a film for he masses, but folks who are on the right wavelength, this'll be a rewarding film. (Joe Sixpack, Slipcue film reviews)