Director: James Morosini
Writer: James Morosini
Stars: Patton Oswalt, James Morosini, Claudia Sulewski
While rebuilding his life after a suicide attempt, an unstable young man named Franklin (James Morosini) meets a girl online who begins to make him feel better. Her name is Becca, she is way prettier than he thinks she deserves and she seems really into him. How or why this person chose Franklin, of all the incels on Facebook, does not amount to a mountain of beans. Life seems to be looking up, and yet Franklin would do well to be a little skeptical. Because he is being cheated. by your father. Writer-director-star Morosini’s hilarious, embarrassing, and all too believable comedy-drama “I Love You, Dad 2022” really happened. “My dad asked me to say no to you,” says an on-screen chiron at the beginning, but it’s too good a story to pass up. And no matter how upset Morosini must have been to discover the hoax at the time, his father gave the budding independent filmmaker (“Threesomething”) the gift of his life: great material. So, in the interest of seizing that opportunity, Morosini assembled a cast of comedic performers to extract the funny side of a hair-raising situation, including Patton Oswalt as Chuck, a semi-fictionalized version of his fabulist father, as well as Rachel Dratch as The Bride. daddy’s lust.
“I Love You Dad” opens with Franklin blocking his father, a pathological liar whose chronic schemes and excuses eventually became too much for him, on Facebook. Aside from a collection of voicemail messages recited by Oswalt during the opening credits, it’s unclear what Chuck’s crime was, though everything that follows suggests that no matter how much this man cared about his son, his relationship with the honesty and ethics were vague or non-existent. . Still, the setup feels rushed, and it’s a missed opportunity to give the father some dimension, especially since the movie is told so awkwardly and awkwardly from his perspective.
Chuck can’t stand to be cut up like this (remember, his son tried to take her own life, which suggests there’s an element of worry amid Chuck’s narcissism). He then takes the suggestion of a co-worker (Lil Rel Howery) and creates a fake account to befriend Franklin again. Not just any story, but that of an attractive local waitress, Becca (Claudia Silewski), offering a kind word as she cries in her cafe one morning. Chuck goes home, looks her up online and makes a profile of her using all her selfies, bikini pics and all. Of course, Franklin takes the bait. (The term “catfishing” comes from a 2010 independent documentary, but what Morosini’s father did takes it to a whole other level and practically demands his own word for it.)
Morosini plays most of what follows as comedy, which is certainly a better solution than using the film as an act of resentful revenge. Or therapy, although it is clear that the project gave the filmmaker the opportunity to put himself in his father’s shoes, to try to understand what happened (much like what Shia LaBeouf did in “Honey Boy” by writing and interpreting a character based on his father). But audiences will likely have a much harder time forgiving Chuck than the director, even if this guy’s fucking ploy was an act of love, twisted as it was.
Chuck didn’t stop to want to know if Franklin was okay. He started chatting with his son, in the role of the boy’s fantasy girl. In these scenes, Becca appears next to Franklin, as if the two of them were talking in person, which is much more fun than reading their text conversation on a screen, while nicely demonstrating how our imaginations work when we can’t see the person. other part. . But things quickly get awkward when small talk turns to sexting, and we feel the full extent of the betrayal when Morosini stages an incestuous make-out session between Oswalt and himself.
Oswalt excels at playing underdogs like Chuck, who is reminiscent of the complicated outcasts he played in “Big Fan” and “Young Adult.” Oswalt may be a comedian, but like Robin Williams in “One Hour Photo,” he can retreat to that dark place at the opposite end of his personality from the extrovert we associate with his stand-up. Chuck should be darker, but also more charming, like the criminal con-artist father Sean Penn recently played in “Flag Day.” Oswalt could have taken the character to those places, although Morosini chooses to make it pathetic. But our feelings about “I love you, Dad” shouldn’t be decided by whether we feel sorry for Chuck.