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Movie Reviews

I Love My Dad ★★★



Director: James Morosini

Cast: Patton Oswalt, James Morosini, Claudia Sulewski, Lil Rel Howery

Release: London Film Festival 2022

Patton Oswalt’s career has been eclectic, primarily comedically driven, with voice roles to boot as well but rarely afforded a leading role. His latest I Love My Dad, which premiered at SXSW, rectifies this placing him front and centre as Chuck, a dad who has failed to support his son Franklin when he’s needed him most and fallen out of contact with him and been blocked on Social Media. That already sounds like an exciting premise for a film. Still, when factoring in the main narrative of Chuck deciding to impersonate a server to Catfish, his son, the film becomes something else entirely. The film is based on the real experiences of director James Morosini.

The absurdist premise is where the film’s strengths lie, this could quickly have become a cliche of a father wanting to bond with his son on a road trip, and while there is a road trip element to the film, it is far from orthodox. Oswalt has to double as Becca and Chuck, and the scenes of him messaging his son in character as Becca are hilarious and show Oswalt’s comedic ability wonderfully. The storyline immediately lends itself to laughs, and the almost unbelievable element of Franklin imagining Becca adds to Chuck’s plan’s hilarity and incredible nature. This is especially true when Franklin decides he wants to meet Becca in person.

Patton Oswalt in I Love My Dad

The cringe-inducing humour and sequences of father and son sexting are incredibly awkward but well performed on all sides to make you root for both and want Chuck to get some form of closure with Franklin. It’s clear Chuck is a person who’s failed to be there when he was needed, and the audience gets to see the failings in the relationship from both sides and the effect this has on both; Chuck’s development is heartwarming, and we do genuinely care for the pair.

It could have been a more damning take on Social Media and the bits broader issue. The film is an excellent comedy nonetheless. If the supporting cast is a little underdeveloped and the plotting is not quite tight enough, the film is sweet and funny, anchored by its two lead performances and a sense of fun. Morosini playing Franklin shows he is a talent in front of and behind the camera, sharing good chemistry with Oswalt, on which so much of the film rides.

If nothing ground-breaking, I Love My Dad is a diverting 95 minutes full of heart and genuinely funny throughout, if cringe-inducing. It is a shame it doesn’t have more to say about the issues it addresses. Still, examining the broken relationship between father and son and the desperation to fix it, this is an emotional and enjoyable film. Patton Oswalt is given a strong showcase for his range and one of his best leading roles, carrying much of the film’s ridiculous premise and meaning this is more profound and impactful than it might seem.

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