Title: I Love My Dad
Director: James Morosini
Actor(s): Patton Oswalt, James Morosini
Runtime: 1 hour 36 minutes
WARNING: THIS MOVIE REVIEW CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS
Ugh, ugh, ugh. I like Patton Oswalt but this movie is bad, guys. It’s so incredibly creepy and tone-deaf, and this is coming from someone who loves dark comedies. It tries to convince us that the main character is sympathetic and doing the wrong thing for the right reasons or whatever. Just no.
Patton Oswalt plays Chuck, a train-wreck divorced dad who decides to catfish his mentally ill, suicidal son Franklin (writer/director James Morosini) because he refuses to have anything to do with him. Rightfully so, as it turns out Chuck is a selfish, manipulative man-child with no self-control whatsoever.
Chuck meets a waitress named Becca (Claudia Seluwski) and decides to pretend to be her, using her photos to send his son a friend request on social media. Desperate for anything resembling validation, Franklin starts talking to ‘Becca’ regularly and as they get closer and form a ‘boyfriend-girlfriend’ dynamic their texts get increasingly incest-y. Chuck knows he’s in too deep but continues to lie to his hapless son, who’s too infatuated with ‘Becca’ to see the multitude of red flags.
I don’t really see the humor in this movie, even though it’s supposed to be a ‘comedy.’ Apparently, it’s based on true events that happened to Morosini which makes me feel really bad for him. I did like some of the filmmaking techniques and the way they alternated between Chuck and this fantasy version of Becca. If anything, this movie is a cautionary tale about committing too quickly to online relationships and trusting that people are who they say you are.
I can’t imagine how people would react to this movie if it was about a father and daughter. It was so gross and ends in a godawful way with Franklin forgiving his dad because, well, ‘Becca’ encouraged him to pursue his dream career as a programmer. Personally, their relationship was already pretty bad and if my dad was pretending to be a hot girl and texting me about having a wet pussy, well… my dad would be getting disowned. With a restraining order. There isn’t enough therapy in the world to adequately deal with that shit.
I think this movie might have been better if (a Franklin was just a guy who hated his dad and wasn’t suicidal and vulnerable, (b the relationship with ‘Becca’ hadn’t been so sexual or (c Chuck had owned up to his lies sooner and had actually admitted to his own wrongdoing. This movie is so tonally all over the place that there’s very little humor to be found. Subjecting yourself to this movie should be considered cruel and unjust punishment unless you’re a masochist who is addicted to cringing and throwing up in your mouth a little.