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World's Greatest Dad 

Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait (Darko Entertainment)

Robin Williams stars as a frustrated writer who rides a family tragedy to success in a black comedy that fails to find the balance between darkness and mirth. Williams plays high-school poetry teacher Lance Clayton, a schlub beaten down by professional rejection, the romantic manipulations of a colleague (Alexie Gilmore) and the sociopathic brattiness of his teenage son (Daryl Sabara). A bizarre, fatal accident prompts him to pen a phony memoir that transforms its loathsome subject into a posthumous hero and brings Clayton unexpected celebrity. The script evokes the superior Heathers by mocking its characters' self-absorbed responses to death, but writer-director Goldthwait suffocates the gags with relentless cynicism. The result is a movie that's just too depressing to be funny.

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Vol 26, No 12
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