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World's Greatest Dad


Stars: Robin Williams, Daryl Sabara, Alexie Gilmore, Henry Simmons, Evan Martin, Morgan Murphy, Geoff Pierson, Naomi Glick

Director: Bobcat Goldthwait

Robin Williams in Good Film Shock! It's been a while since the once-in-favour comic made a film that even approached a rating of Worthwhile, but this one certainly qualifies, even if the star's character's decision at the end is never quite believable.

He plays Lance Clayton, a high school poetry teacher still writing novels that get rejected, and trying to cope with an obnoxious son, Kyle (Sabara, grown up from the Spy Kids films), a virtually friendless jackass on the verge of being expelled from school.

When one of Kyle's one-man sex games goes wrong, killing him, Lance rigs up a suicide, and writes an emotional 'Goodbye, cruel world' style note. This gets put around the school, where the once-hated Kyle becomes an icon. Lance's poetry class fills up and he's reunited with the art teacher (Gilmore) who was about to leave him for sports master Mike (Simmons).

Fired up by his newfound popularity, Lance writes a journal under his son's name, which gets published, leading to TV appearances and offers not only for the journal but Lance's novels as well.

Director Goldthwait finds quite a few guilty smiles in this blackest of comedies and, until the ending, Williams is entirely convincing as the man whose personal tragedy turns into the first slice of good fortune he's had in his miserable life. Sabara is disturbingly disgusting as the son.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: The Works. Colour by Alpha Cine.
98 minutes. Not wdescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 19 Sep 2010