Movie Review: World’s Greatest Dad

A film about a boy who wanks himself to death - starring Robin Williams!

World’s Greatest Dad is the new film by Bobcat Goldthwait, Comedy Central’s 61st best comedian in the world and a man who made a pretty challenging black comedy a few years back called Sleeping Dogs Lie. If you haven’t seen it, the film mines particularly edgy subject matter. It’s about a woman whose adult relationship is damaged when she reluctantly reveals she had sex with a dog in college.

Rent it for yourself – but maybe take a brown paper bag to Blockbuster with you for the walk home.

The writer/director’s new film is no less challenging. In it, Robin Williams plays a single father, unpublished author and high-school English teacher who finds his thoroughly repulsive, arsehole kid (Daryl Sabara) dead one day, his son meeting his end in an autoerotic asphyxiation accident after masturbating to his death over pictures taken on his camera phone of his dad’s girlfriend pants with a belt fastened to his wardrobe and looped around his neck.

Everyone – as they say – needs a hobby. In the case of Goldthwait, it seems he’ll film anything as long as there’s a broom up its arse.

From there in, Williams’s character attempts to hide the perverse reality of his son’s death from the world and reposition his charge as a tortured soul who ‘just couldn’t take it anymore’, drafting poetry in his son’s hand as his blue-skinned corpse lies on his bedroom floor. From there on, his previously disliked child achieves martyrdom both in his school and via a national book deal, while his father struggles to marry grief with guilt and the nagging feeling that this isn’t really how he wanted to get his work published.

Then the film goes a bit mental and you get to see William’s penis. But I won’t spoil what happens next for anyone who’s thus far intrigued.

Intrigued you should be. This is a boldly told, very unique tale, and Williams is excellent throughout. And here’s my critical opinion on anyone who doesn’t like the work of the often-maligned Robin Williams: you can all fuck off and be idiots somewhere else. Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, Insomnia, One Hour Photo – that’s a better body of work than Pacino has clocked up in the last twenty years. Not only that, but if you’ve ever watched a kid giggle at Mrs Doubtfire, Jumanji and Flubber, you might argue he’s got more range than, say, De Niro too.

(Okay, not Flubber. That was rubbish. But I think my point remains valid.)

Throw in a surprisingly inventive soundtrack – you won’t be able to listen to Queen and David Bowie’s ‘Under Pressure’ in the same way any time soon – and a great, thoroughly vile supporting performance from Sabara (if there was an Academy Awards category for ‘best portrayal of a twat’ he’d be nailed on to take home a gong) and you’ve got a film that discusses the difficult subject of grief with wit and real reason. I enjoyed this film a lot. I’d go as far as to say that this is best film I have ever seen about someone who masturbates themselves to death.

If anyone is reading this who works for the studio, feel free to put that on the case come the DVD release.

James McMahon

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