World's Greatest Dad – DVD Review


World’s Greatest Dad sounds like a light-hearted, family friendly romp of a movie. That is a misnomer though. The first half of the movie deals with a young boy suffering from paraphilia and about his relationship with his father, Robin Williams. So far you’re probably thinking, “Awww, how sweet, the father is helping his son with this disease.” Not really. Paraphillia is the American Psychiatric Association’s term for people who engage in autoerotic asphyxia. That’s right, in this movie, Robin Williams’ son like to choke himself while masturbating.

The son is played by Daryl Sabara, and not only is he into autoerotica, but he’s also into a lot of other messed up sexual things. He’s also an asshole. He’s the type of guy who loves Two Girls, One Cup and then calls you gay for not liking it. Not a nice person. And he says the same thing to his dad, and the principal, and his friends, and everyone in earshot.

Throughout the first half of the movie, Williams tries very hard to connect with his son while the rest of his world crumbles around him. The class he teaches at school is about to get canceled, his girlfriend seems to be hanging out with another guy a lot, and his son is a freaking psycho. Not exactly “World’s Greatest Dad” levels here. Then everything starts to change one night, Williams, Alexie Gilmore who plays the girlfriend role, and Sabara have a nice meal, they all get along well and the night is looking to end well for Williams.

After dinner they drop off Sabara and go back to the girlfriend’s place where he actually turns her down to get back home to prove to his son that he’s not as obsessed with sex as the son is. When he gets back home he finds his son dead in an asphyxia moment gone wrong. Instead of immediately calling 9-1-1, he first moves the body into a closet and makes it look like suicide and even goes so far as to write a note.

The note turns the son into the most popular kid in school. Good lesson there, “A well written suicide note makes you popular.”

The rest of World’s Greatest Dad is Robin Williams dealing with the immense support and popularity his son gets for writing the note. To keep up the illusion that his son was actually a really good, deep, emotional writer, Williams even writes and publishes a journal. Even while writing all this stuff you can see the emotional struggle going on inside his head. You can tell he wants to tell everyone what really happened, but he is enjoying being the center of attention too much to ruin it for himself. It doesn’t help him make the right decision when the guidance counselor is tell him how much his son’s book can help people who are in the same situation.

It’s really powerful struggle you get the sense of in the movie and when he finally pops and comes clean it’s almost a little bit of a letdown. And after he comes clean, that’s where all the ladies are going to go nuts, because afterward you get naked Robin Williams. Not just rear, not just side, but full on dongle.

The movie wraps up pretty much exactly the way you’d want it to, with Robin Williams clothed, and has a nice message at the end. “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.”

World’s Greatest Dad is presented in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound.

Looks good. Sound is ok, they play music over a lot of the big moments but it works well. The songs played are pretty good.

Standard fare here for the most part. A behind the scenes look at the movie that basically ends up being a camera asking everyone what the movie is about. Outtakes aren’t really that funny but there’s a few there if you’d like. There are some deleted scenes that don’t add anything to the story and are fine being deleted. HDNet’s look at the movie, it has an interview with Bobcat Goldthwait and really is just sort of an extension of the behind the scenes part. “I Hope I Become A Ghost” music video by The Deadly Syndrome…yeah…And finally commentary with Bobcat Goldthwait.

It’s a very dark comedy, with a very light, feel good ending. It’s not a side-busting laugher, but there are quite a few good jokes mixed in. Interesting story with a good conflict and it really makes you think what you’d do in that situation.

Magnolia Pictures Presents World’s Greatest Dad. Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait. Starring Robin Williams, Alexie Gilmore, and Daryl Sabara. Written by Bobcat Goldthwait. Running time: 99 minutes. Rated R. Released on DVD: December 8th, 2009. Available at