I LOVE YOU, DADDY
Director: Louis C.K.
Written by: Louis C.K., Vernon Chatman
Cast: Louis C.K., Chloë Grace Moretz, Charlie Day, Edie Falco, John Malkovich, Rose Byrne, Helen Hunt
Screened at: Critics’ link, NYC, 11/12/17
Opens: November 17, 2017 Release has been cancelled by the distributor
When a critic for the trade magazine Variety reviewed this picture at the Toronto International Film Festival some months back, he had no idea that the off-screen Louis C.K would become more discussed than his movie. Louis C.K., of Mexican-American heritage, directs, has co-written and stars in the mostly comic look at the lives of entertainment people. Given its black-and-white filming, and the big statement “The End” at the conclusion, we’re obviously seeing a modern look at the TV business but in the style of the forties and not with implied references to Woody Allen.
Louis C.K., perhaps the only celebrity who in real life has freely admitted the charge that he sexually harassed the five women who recently filed complaints, does not in my view deserve to have the studio cancel the distribution of this entertaining and insightful film. Nor should Stephen Colbert have canceled this director’s show one night before he was to appear since, after all, given Louis C.K.”s willingness to come clean (I should probably rephrase that), he would have made a stellar guest.
The “I Love You, Daddy” title is taken from the overly-frequent expression of China (Chloë Grace Moretz), the beautiful, blond 17-year-old daughter of Glen Topher (Louis C.K.). China should be grateful for the life of wealth that his divorced dad has given her (she had expressed her desire to be under the custody of her dad rather than of her mother played by Helen Hunt). Glen has been awfully lenient with her. He’s just a guy who can’t say no when she wants to go to Florida on Spring Break and hardly protests when she asks to return just a week or so later. He has given her no direction, has drawn no boundaries, and yet thinks he deserves to be praised simply because he lavishes his wealth on her. She is so spoiled that she chooses not to go on to college, since with all the wealth in her family, why bother?
Glen is faced by two problems. After spectacular successes with TV episodic shows, he now has writers’ block, but given his fame, a desirable actress, Grace Cullen (Rose Byrne), wants desperately to be cast. Further, he is putting his foot down, albeit not with much impact, by forbidding his daughter from accepting an invitation to Paris from Lesley Graham (John Malkovich), a celebrated filmmaker with a taste for young women, preferably before they reach 18. It’s no surprise that she goes, and we are not given clues to what exactly she does with him beyond drinking expensive wine and listening to his sophomoric philosophy of life.
The film blends queasy drama with mostly sit-comish comedy, the latter contributed heavily by Ralph (Charlie Day), who hangs out regularly on Glen’s couch and serves as the vulgar clown, including a spell of simulated masturbation at the mere mention of the sexy actress Grace Cullen. In that last regard, those of us with a knowledge of the specific charges in real life against the comedian cannot help saying that art follows life. Put me down as considering it a shame that what an actor does that’s not according to Hoyle means that the public will be unable to partake of this entertainment, as though the man’s peccadilloes should put him on a blacklist. There is some doubt as well that DVD sales are forthcoming, meaning that the only people who see this movie are critics and the audience at the Toronto Film Festival.
Rated R. 123 minutes. © Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online
Story – B
Acting – B+
Technical – B
Overall – B