REVIEW: ‘I Love My Dad’ is an uncomfortable comedy (in the best way)

This film produces, perhaps, the most second-hand embarassment of any movie out there.

Patton Oswalt’s Chuck in “I Love My Dad” is a father whose relationship with his son Franklin (James Morosini) has broken down over the years. Chuck has missed too many of Franklin’s life events, and it’s fractured goodwill between the two.

It gets to the point where Franklin is so fed up that he shuts down communication between them, blocking Chuck on his cell phone and social media. As a way to still get in contact with Franklin, Chuck decides to make a fake profile of a woman named Becca (Claudia Sulewski). The two are once again talking, but unfortunately, Franklin falls in love with the Becca persona.

There’s some reality to the film “I Love My Dad,” as it’s based on an actual situation that happened in Morosini’s life. Not only does this reinforce the idea that truth is stranger than fiction, but it gives the picture some real heart to go along with its comical situation.

The film isn’t simply putting the characters in this situation for the sake of grossing out an audience with some raunchy comedy and an outlandish premise. The story and characters feel feel genuine, and it’s what ultimately makes a person be able to enjoy the many cringe-inducing moments throughout the feature.

Of course it’s hard to say just how much of the film was true and what was fabricated, but at its core, there’s an honesty there. That honesty comes through both from Chuck’s desperation and Franklin seeking a person to connect with as he deals with depression.

What helps make the film’s premise work well is how Becca is brought to life on screen. Played by Claudia Sulewski, Becca appears whenever Franklin is texting and speaks with him, giving their conversations the emotional weight they should have, so a viewer can understand why Franklin is getting catfished.

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Courtesy Magnolia Pictures.

It also has to be expressed how funny the movie is, too. It will make a viewer squirm in their seat while also laughing at every interaction that the son and “Becca” have.

The humor also comes from the reactions to what’s happening. Most notable is Chuck’s coworker Jimmy (Lil Rel Howery), who actually gave Chuck the idea because he catfished an ex in the past. He gets some of the funniest lines in the whole flick by far.

One just wishes the start and ending of the film had been more fleshed out. Both feel somewhat rushed, as the opening has Chuck start the account relatively quickly, while the ending doesn’t offer enough of a resolution.

The film is still for the most part enjoyable, though, with Oswalt doing a lot of the heavy lifting. He really excels on screen and somehow makes this dad who’s doing something extreme and even deranged seem endearing, and funny.

Morosini, meanwhile, sells how his character is falling head over heels for “Becca.” Speaking of which, Sulewski is great at creating a sort of manic pixie dream girl with her performance as Becca, which works well as Morosini is partially creating a persona of the “woman” based on their interactions that’s overly bubbly and cheerful.

This is Morosini’s first major production and it’s a good starting point for the young filmmaker. Its dramatic elements don’t hold up as well as the comedic parts, but as a whole, this film captures one’s attention and can have a person laughing and contorting a lot. 3.7 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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