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Saturday, January 16, 2010

12/15/10

After a night of processing and self-flagellation, I'm willing to declare myself a fan of the film "World's Greatest Dad." Not an easy film to watch by any stretch, this outrageously black little gem will take you places you probably haven't been since "Spanking the Monkey."

We join an English teacher who is actually a failed writer, desperate for fame and recognition. His son, to put it mildly, is the spawn of Satan, and can't seem to engage with anything that isn't Orphic. When a perverse accident interferes with this little freak's respiration, our failed writer seizes the opportunity to unleash his creative forces and to make a saint of Satan.

Though the film boasts some of the most memorably juvenile dialog you've heard since the last "South Park" movie, its themes are so deeply complex that we are forced to look beyond the surface. Robin William's character is exploiting his own son's death for money and fame, and who could blame him? We the audience are accomplices to the extend that it's hard to find fault with him for what he's done. His son is probably one of the most unsympathetic characters we'll ever see. But the film demonstrates brilliantly what the mystique of death and a little poetic license can accomplish. The son functions as the scapegoat initiating all of the redemptive themes in the film, hence, some of the guilt we feel about endorsing William's creative drive in the film.

It's a touching movie for all that, and the scene where William looses his son is painful to endure. Fine acting all around and a good soundtrack. Some of the lines truly are funny, even if they do make you cringe.

And another thing. Here's a little aside to all of the prudes in the audience. A casual glance through the foolish reviews posted on Amazon.com illustrates some rather interesting inconsistencies. For one, people have repeatedly complained about the language. It's excessive, crude, vulgar--nobody talks like that, it makes the film loose credibility. Such people are more than happy to turn the other cheek for some of the most aberrant behavior ever captured on screen in films like the "Hangover," or "Pineapple Express." Also, the vigilantes like "Batman," "Iron Man" et all. take many more liberties than Williams' sad character ever will in the film. In fact, being an opportunist is usually smiled upon in America's business circles, but somehow, this film seems to be hitting the sanctimonious nerve in a lot of people. It's ludicrous and hypocritical. My own theory is that many of you feel guilty for secretly supporting Williams' decision.

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