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Review: I Love You, Daddy (TIFF)

I Love You, Daddy (TIFF)
09.20.2017
5 10

PLOT: A Hollywood mogul (Louis C.K.) finds his relationship with his teen-aged daughter (Chloe Grace Moretz) tested when she begins dating a septuagenarian director (John Malkovich).

REVIEW: Whatever one can say about Louis C.K,, he’s not one to shy away from controversy. In his own life, some pretty serious allegations have been made against him, and I LOVE YOU, DADDY confronts many of them - one of which is his professional relationship with Woody Allen, while, other, whispery ones (which I won’t go into here) are nodded at. Both come through a peripheral character, played by Charlie Day, who, upon meeting possible a possible pedophile director played by John Malkovich, immediately asks him, “hey, did you molest that kid?”, something which the Malkovich character isn’t offended by and actually seems to to respect. Perhaps the message here is that rather than whisper about people, you should just confront them, although it’s worth noting that while seemingly open, the Malkovich character never proclaims his innocence or guilt, one of the many ways C.K’s film challenges the audience.

All that said, I LOVE YOU, DADDY, which C.K shot in black and white and on 35mm (in secret) is not as successful as either his FX show, his stand-up, or “Horace and Pete”. Going for a retro (meaning thirties rather than seventies) vibe, albeit contemporary and loaded-with F-bombs, it’s certainly unique, but it’s the least relatable thing C.K’s ever done. Here, he basically plays himself in ultra-successful mode (with him now fabulously wealthy as opposed to his humbler “Louie” origins) as he struggles to raise his daughter, who he spoils rotten.

As the spoiled princess daughter, Moretz’s character, would be insufferable, were it not for the fact that she's the product of a dad who’s clearly had little interest in her upbringing. Only now, that she’s matured and is on the verge of turning eighteen and making her own mistakes, does he seem interested.

The fact that this is all set among the fabulously wealthy in New York and L.A, with C.K and his love interest (a pregnant Rose Byrne) jetting off to private beaches and hosting black-tie soirees, makes this removed from the working class world that C.K’s always been best at chronicling. Rather, I LOVE YOU, DADDY, despite being more confrontational and foul-mouthed, feels like a Woody Allen clone, with C.K seeming like he’s trying to become his idol. It doesn’t quite work, although it has its moments, specifically anytime Day is on-screen, with him expertly cast as C.K’s pal, while Pamela Adlon plays the only character that seems to have any semblance of sanity. Malkovich, while playing an all-out perv, is oddly charming, making his seduction of the young Moretz almost believable if not palatable (not that it’s supposed to be).

In the end, I’m sure C.K made exactly the film he set out to make, but the milieu doesn’t feel like a good fit for him. Do we really need more showbiz romps? The premise might have made for a good “Louie” two-parter, but as a two-hour plus film, it wears a little thin.

Source: JoBlo.com

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