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Boyd Mitchler and his family must spend Christmas with his estranged family of misfits. Upon realizing that he left all his son's gifts at home, he hits the road with his dad in an attempt to make the 8-hour round trip before sunrise.
Lance Clayton is a man who has learned to settle. He dreamed of being a rich and famous writer, but has only managed to make it as a high school poetry teacher. His only son Kyle is an insufferable jackass who won't give his father the time of day. Lance is dating Claire, the school's adorable art teacher, but she doesn't want to get serious -- or even acknowledge publicly that they are dating. Then, in the wake of a freak accident, Lance suffers the worst tragedy and greatest opportunity of his life. He is suddenly faced with the possibility of all the fame, fortune and popularity he ever dreamed of, if he can only live with the knowledge of how he got there. Written by
World's Greatest Dad hooked me the first time I read about it debuting at Sundance. I heard, "dark comedy," and, "Robin Williams," and was instantly interested. Then the trailer and plot summary really reeled me in. The result is a film that not only surpassed expectations, but also went in an unexpected direction. When a film is described as a dark comedy, it has usually still stuck to specific guidelines. Maybe it still followed a similar formula to what other comedies did before it. These other films that are labeled as dark comedies don't really break any new ground. World's Greatest Dad goes beyond that. It breaks any ground rules that were laid before it and doesn't follow any sort of formula. When they say, "dark," they aren't kidding. The subject content is pretty disturbing yet is somehow still humorous.
Robin Williams plays the role of a dad who's trying to do his best with the obstacles life has thrown at him incredibly well. With everything that's going on in his life, even in the moments of the film where he doesn't speak, it looks like he's constantly thinking about something. Always dwelling on what's going on around him with the people who are close to him in his life and trying to decide how he's going to handle this situation he's gotten himself into. While his role does show a bit of his comedic side, Robin Williams proves he can handle serious roles rather well with this performance.
While I obviously can't say much about what direction the film goes in without completely spoiling the film, I will say that the trailer does a good job of not giving any of that away. Once the film makes that turn though, it really follows through with it and doesn't let up. One of the best parts of the experience of watching this film for the first time is seeing how far the concept of the film is going to go. As Lance buries himself in this, people begin to say the actions that were taken changed their life for the better. If you told a lie that did that to not just one person, but practically an entire high school...how would you tell them the truth?
World's Greatest Dad is not going to be for everyone. Some people will love it and others will just downright hate it. The film isn't just dark, it's DARK. That and it's a very different kind of comedy with an unexpected turn of events. Most of the humor is very dry, so if that's not your thing then I wouldn't recommend it. For me personally though, it's one of the most interesting films I've seen in quite some time.
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