There’s a moment in the TV show Boston Legal where James Spader says something like, “you just can’t cling on anymore,” to which William Shatner responds, “did you say Klingon?” It’s a totally absurd moment in an odd TV trend toward self-aware ridiculousness. World’s Greatest Dad, starring Robin Williams and directed by the once-rabid standup comic with the most memorable squawk of all, Bobcat Goldthwait, is the perfect feature-length example of this absurdity.

This movie defies expectation. I dare you to tell me what it’s like without seeing it. First off, you can’t read too much into the title. Second, you can’t read too much into the description: a high school English teacher dealing with the tragic incident that befalls his son. Third, throw your arms to the sky and accept the fact that this will be the most hit and miss, cross-genre, disturbing and hilarious homage/satire that you’ll see all year.

Take three genres: the single-father movie, of which Steve Carell has lately become the face; the high school teen movie; and the independent drama that takes dead aim on some social issue. Now make fun of all of them. But before you’re done, make sure you shock and delight a full theater of people that is racking its collective brain trying to keep the tater tots, peas, and sloppy joe from mixing into an awful mess on the tray.

When the credits rolled, one person shocked the theater by clapping. Moments later, half the theater had joined in, myself included.

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