Comedian-turned-filmmaker Bobcat Goldthwait may seem like a depraved sicko, what with his movies about bestiality (2006’s Sleeping Dogs Lie) and selfishly capitalizing on a loved one’s death (CineVegas selection World’s Greatest Dad), but if you get past the synopses and actually watch his films, you’ll discover that the guy’s clearly a softie at heart.
Dad stars Robin Williams as high school English teacher Lance Clayton, a well-meaning but ineffectual parent to 15-year-old Kyle (Sabara), who’s an unapologetically rude, foul-mouthed moron. When Kyle dies accidentally during auto-erotic asphyxiation (look it up), Lance rearranges the body to make it look like a suicide and pens an eloquent note, all to give his son a little dignity at the end of his life. The result, however, is that frustrated writer Lance suddenly has an appreciative audience.
Goldthwait spends nearly half the movie establishing Kyle as the world’s worst son, so it’s almost a relief to see him croak. After that, Williams is admirably understated as Lance, and does a good job conveying the mix of pride and self-loathing that drives his actions. The movie takes a little longer than necessary arriving at the inevitable, somewhat hokey ending, but it’s pretty funny along the way, and Goldthwait has improved as a filmmaker since the somewhat rough Dogs. His next uplifting depravity is eagerly awaited.