Robin Williams’s movies are often high quality stints into territory seldom seen. Whether he is dressing up as a woman to see his children, voicing a magical genie, or taking on the role of a caring psychologist for a troubled yet brilliant youth, there seems to be a certain charm to his films which is hard to shake off.
This holds true for “World’s Greatest Dad”, a dark comedy about a single-father raising his sex obsessed son. The film is something different than Mr. Williams usually takes and so one could argue that he is “settling” by taking on such a role yet regardless of the individual opinion the film has a few poignant moments which border on social-commentary as far as technology, adolescence, and mass-psychology is concerned.
The film starts off with a monologue of Mr. William’s character narrating how he is a failed author on the cusp of giving up writing; of how all he ever wanted as to write that one profound novel which not only touched people’s lives but “made a shit load of cash”. From here it quickly transitions to his son masturbating via auto-erotic affixation. Skipping a car scene where his son launches tirade after tirade against music (calling it fag music), we are treated to various school scenes where we see that this lad has a perverted and chauvinistic take on both sexual intercourse and the female sex. More to the point, however, we see that he is in deep water academically speaking and on the verge of being kicked out of his school. His father, a teacher at the same school, is obviously strapped and near his wit’s end.
Once the plot is able to convey the characters primary ambitions well enough a major twist is added to the plot: his son dies when masturbating in his usual manner (auto-erotic affixation; a highly dangerous activity). While his father is of course devastated he does something unexpected: instead of calling the police straight away to take away the body he pens a suicide note, sticks it in his son’s shirt, and then calls the authorities.
This act is done out of love, to be sure. It came to pass because his father didn’t want such a humiliating death to be attributed to his son, an unpopular kid. Yet what was very simple turns out to explode as his suicide note, written by his father, is published in the school newspaper. From this event the students react and those in the margins begin to see the grief consoler.
Not only are youth opening up but a curious effect is launched upon the student body: from the effects of the note, its crisp clear writing, every archetype of student sees in them something in their deceased classmate. Soon Mr. William’s character’s poetry class is filled with curious onlookers.
This is taken to the next step, however, when Mr. Williams’s character forges a whole journal and releases it to the student body. Before he knows it such acclaim is garnered that he is invited onto television shows and is smacking away offers from the largest publishers; fame is close and it is everything he ever wanted.
Obviously there are quite a few deep emotional and psychological traits being portrayed in this movie. I thought it spoke of the human condition, of how love and despair can intermix with desperation to create a cocktail of lies and disinformation. The ending is heart-warming yet the plot is the main attraction. So all in all if you are willing to give a different kind of movie a try don’t overlook this one.