Sunday, February 21, 2010

World's Greatest Dad - 2009


Lance Clayton (Williams) is a single father, unpublished author, and high-school English teacher who dreams of becoming a famous writer. He unsuccessfully tries to bond with his 15 year old underachieving, misanthropic sex-obsessed teenage son Kyle (Sabara).[4] Kyle is a student at the school where Lance teaches an unpopular poetry class. His only friend is Andrew, a fellow student who spends his evenings at the Clayton’s house trying to avoid his embarrassing alcoholic mother. He is respectful and very different from Kyle. Kyle's consistently poor academic performance and repulsive behavior gain the attention of the school principal, who advises Lance that Kyle should transfer to a special-needs school.

One night, after Kyle and Lance spend an evening with Lance’s noncommittal girlfriend Claire (who has eyes on a fellow teacher named Mike), Lance discovers that Kyle has accidentally suffocated himself in an autoerotic asphyxiation accident in his bedroom. To avoid embarrassing his son and himself, he stages Kyle’s death as an intentional suicide. He writes a suicide note on Kyle’s computer and hangs his son’s body in the closet.
Initially, most of the students and faculty at Lance's school are uninterested in Kyle's death, Kyle having been a very unpopular and unlikeable person. However, a classmate later obtains the suicide note from police records and publishes it in the school newspaper. The note strikes a chord with the students and faculty, and suddenly many students claim to have been friends with Kyle.
Enjoying the attention his writing (his impromptu suicide note for Kyle) is finally receiving, Lance decides to write and publish a phony journal that was supposedly written by his son before his suicide. Kyle becomes something of a post-mortem cult phenomenon at the school, and soon Lance begins to receive the attention and adoration that he had always desired. Claire, the much younger teacher on staff, who has been dating Lance at her convenience, begins to give him her undivided attention. Andrew finds Kyle’s suicide note and journals as highly uncharacteristic based on Kyle's personality when he was alive. Although Andrew often challenges Lance to explain his son’s inexplicably profound writing, Lance brushes him off.

The bogus journal soon attracts the attention of book publishers and Lance lands a television appearance on a nationally broadcast talk show. Ironically, the school principal decides to rename the school library in Kyle’s honor, despite Kyle's attitude at school during his lifetime and the fact that the principal had at one point suggested that Kyle be transferred. Lance's work, though published under false pretenses, earns him all the fame and appreciation he has dreamed of.

At the library dedication, pressured by a combination of his guilt over exploiting his son’s death, his mounting hatred for the hypocrites who claimed false friendship, and the faculty’s new-found admiration of the “genius” of his dead son, Lance confesses the reality of the situation instead of giving an acceptance speech. After explaining Kyle’s autoerotic asphyxiation accident and his own exploitation of his son to the audience, he feels completely reborn, runs to the school's pool, and dives into it nude. Now Lance, the new social pariah, is hated by everyone but Andrew, who encourages Lance to continue writing.


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