I Saw the Banned Movie — a review of “I Love You, Daddy”

I remember a few years ago when I was a three hours away from the press screening of The Interview. It was the movie Seth Rogen and James Franco made, making fun of trying to kill Kim Jong-un. After North Korea hacked Sony computers and there were real terrorist threats against theatres showing it…the screening and release of the movie were canned. It was on Christmas Day I believe, that pay-per-view offered it up and I paid $5 to see it. I was pleasantly surprised.

I didn’t think I’d ever see something like that happen again, and then it did. Comedian Louis C.K. got into trouble for the things he had been doing to various women, and the studio decided to pull a movie he wrote, directed, and starred in. It’s a worse situation than with the Kevin Spacey movie All the Money in the World, as they were able to edit out Spacey’s scenes and just re-shoot them with Christopher Plummer. This movie has some decent name actors, that weren’t going to go out and promote it. There’s a studio that now isn’t going to release it. Sure, they could take out the various masturbation scenes, and the offensive treatment of women…okay, they probably couldn’t take that out, as it was a big part of the movie.

The studio had already sent DVDs out of this movie to the critics, so on Thanksgiving, I had a few friends watch it with me. I figured…if we all had to waste two hours of our time watching this garbage, I could waste another 20 minutes writing a review. It’ll give you all the heads up if it’s ever available On Demand.

I was actually able to watch the movie without thinking of C.K.’s personal life. Well, aside from the scene when Charlie Day is pretending to masturbate while C.K. is on the phone with a famous actress who wants a part in his new TV series. Oh, there was also a part when his teenage daughter’s friend admits she once had a crush on him, and he lunges for her on the couch. Okay, perhaps we couldn’t put his personal life on the back burner while watching this, but that’s not why my five friends and I all thought it was garbage. It’s because it was.

C.K. plays Glen Topher, a TV writer/producer who just got a second show to air, much to the chagrin of his writing partner (played by Edie Falco), who realizes this means a lot more work for her to rush this to air. It also stresses her out that he wants to drop the actress from the pilot, so he can cast an A-list beauty who he wants to sleep with. She’s played by Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids, Neighbors), who is also pregnant. Another hurdle for Falco, as they’re now going to have to write that into the script.

There’s something about C.K’s performance that is rather odd. At first I thought he was just playing a character that’s confused, in over his head, and just disinterested in a show that he knows isn’t that good. By the end of the movie, I just came to the conclusion that he’s not a very good actor.

His daughter China (Chloe Grace Moretz) just moved into his place, which bothers his ex-wife (Helen Hunt, who’s only in two scenes). The mildly amusing joke (and movie title), is that China is playing her dad, and he doesn’t realize it. She wants to borrow the company plane to fly to Florida for spring break. She wants to take a few days off of school to visit friends. As he sits there thinking about her requests, she walks away saying “I love you, daddy.”

She wants to fly to France with a famous filmmaker in his late 60s. That’s the only time daddy tries to put the brakes on her behavior. That’s because filmmaker Leslie Goodwin (John Malkovich, in a performance that was also odd), is considered the best writer/director in Hollywood. It’s a nod to Woody Allen…as are the huge, black rimmed glasses C.K. wears, the filming of this in black-and-white, and the Gershwin style score…which doesn’t fit the movie at all.

If C.K. wanted to do a movie in the style of Woody…that’s fine. But he needs to write material, not just have an old guy that likes sleeping with young women. The scenes with Malkovich should’ve been funny, or interesting conversations about filmmaking. Instead, they just meander.

This is how much of a mess this movie is. Charlie Day is kind of funny, as the famous comedian always hanging around C.K’s office. Yet his comic relief doesn’t fit the tone of the rest of the film. Another interesting character is played by Pamela Adlon, the ex-girlfriend of C.K., who is the only one pointing out various parental flaws.

What’s really odd about this is how terrific Louis C.K. is as a comedian, and some of the things he’s done away from the stand-up stage (Lucky Louie, Horace and Pete), are interesting. This film is dull, and filled with boring characters you wouldn’t want to spend any time with. There were also a handful of scenes that have been done before. An example being when Charlie Day starts becoming the guy that hangs out with Malkovich, and they’re sitting at a table with their Emmy awards, only to have C.K. and his sour puss come up to begrudgingly say hello to the happy table.

Another flaw the movie had was dialogue that was just plain stupid. An example of that would be Rose Byrne, after sleeping with C.K., trying convincing him of the benefits of his daughter being in a relationship with a man 50 years older. Some of it was cliche, most of it just idiotic.

This is a self-indulgent mess. C.K. thinks he made his Manhattan. I wish I would’ve made a few Manhattans while watching this. Perhaps being drunk would’ve helped with the laughter. The entire room I watched it with hated it. One guy said, “I did hear Josh laugh one time.”

I corrected him. I actually laughed three times.

It’s funny that such a brilliant comedian thinks just sprinkling in curse words equals comedy. Does he not understand why we all made fun of Andrew “Dice” Clay?

This was Woody Allen-lite. Sometimes Woody Allen-lite can work. The movie Miami Rhapsody comes to mind.

I’m sorry the film studio lost so much money on this movie, but I’m not sorry it’s not seeing the light of day. It saved moviegoers their money, and two hours of their time. It’s a movie I can’t see anybody enjoying.

I Love You, Daddy.

I Hate You, Movie!

1 star out of 5.