‘I Love My Dad’ Review: A Tender Take on Father/Son Relationships

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I Love My Dad (2022) © Magnolia Pictures

Just how far will a father go to speak to an estranged child? In I Love My Dad, based on a true story, a father creates a fake online profile in order to have a relationship with his son. What ensues is a hilarious and heartwarming tale about family, love and relationships.

★★★✰✰

There is a common phrase, ‘write what you know’. In I Love My Dad, written, directed, and starring James Morosini, he has taken this maxim to new heights. The film is based on Morosini’s own experiences with his father, who really did catfish him in order to maintain a relationship after the former blocked him on social media. The film is a wild and funny take on catfishing, yet we are also privy to a touching tale of fatherly love.

At the start of this film, Chuck (Patton Oswalt) is an incredibly self-serving individual, one who isn’t above lying to anyone in order to inflate his own value. Unfortunately, that comes at the cost of a relationship with his son Franklin (Morosini). After leaving intense therapy, Franklin decides that he is going to block his father online. Chuck, divorced and no longer living in the same state as his son, is morose at this turn of events. Stumbling upon a cheery waitress named Becca (Claudia Sulewski), he decides that he is going to pretend to be her and befriend his son online, in order to be able to chat to him. As the lie progresses, and Franklin falls for faux Becca more and more, Chuck ropes in his friends in an attempt to keep the lie afloat.

Oswalt, known for his comedic background, is the perfect actor for this challenging role. How do you make such a selfish character loveable? Oswalt portrays deep emotions in his acting whilst also keeping things light and funny, encouraging the viewer to root for him throughout. His is a strong performance, and plays well against the rest of the cast.

The film is creative in its storytelling, which allows the other actors in the film to shine. Sulewski in particular breathes life into both the real and faux Beccas. As the real Becca, she is weighed down in her waitressing job. Although imbued with cheerfulness, you can tell she really doesn’t want to be in a diner serving pie. As the faux Becca she is all pastels and cheery rainbows. Prancing around Franklin, her optimism is contagious. How could Franklin (or anyone else for that matter), not like her? Without giving too much away, the two Beccas showcase the dichotomy of different impressions people have when meeting one another.

Rachel Dracht is very funny as Chuck’s girlfriend, Erica, and is a good counterpoint to his character. It is a shame, however, that some of the other characters are hardly fleshed out at all; one wishes that Lil Rey Howery’s Jimmy appeared onscreen more, his few scenes delightful but brief.

I Love My Dad (2022) © Magnolia Pictures

James Morosini also directs and stars in the film as Franklin. Unfortunately this lends itself to wondering if Morosini was pulled into a few too many directions, as his performance doesn’t totally land and the plot itself struggles with being coherent. Perhaps this is a result of Morosini running on too many cylinders at once.

I Love My Dad certainly has its foibles in terms of overall execution. Whether or not it’s a directorial decision, it is a bit choppy in terms of editing. However, you’ll find yourself laughing and cringing with embarrassment during the bumpy ride. When the credits roll, you might also feel like picking up the phone to talk to a loved one. Hopefully without the catfishing aspect.

The Verdict

This is a fun watch for a night in. It’s not the most memorable of films, but it’s a creative and witty take on father/son relationships. It will also make you incredibly thankful that you are neither Franklin nor Morosini, who went through this in real life.

Words by Jordan Cracknell


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