I Love You Daddy
Starring Louis CK, Chloë Grace Moretz, Rose Byrne, John Malkovich, Charlie Day, Pamela Adlon, Helen Hunt
It’s no secret that comedian Louis CK’s latest self-funded film has been terminated by it’s distributor. I Love You Daddy, was filmed in secret before debuting at TIFF, then screeners mailed to critics for award consideration before the sexual abuse scandal hit the airways. The subject matter of a 17-year-old girl being pursued by a 68-year-old was beyond bad taste, after allegations came out over the raunchy comedian, who not only stars, but produced and directed the dark comedy. The movie is shot in black and white and uses a bombastic orchestra score with 1930’s style credits. It’s no coincidence I Love You Daddy looks and feels like a Woody Allen film; the irony is that it also came complete with the scandal.
Successful television writer Glen Topher (Moretz) wins the argument with ex-wife (Hunt) about their teenage daughter China (Moretz), staying with him over the summer. “Of course, she chooses you with the penthouse, celebrity friends and the jet.” Glen is working on a new TV show and his recent friendship with blockbuster movie star Grace Cullen (Byrne) has him completely unfocused. Grace invites the father/daughter to a party where China is introduced to known sexual deviant Leslie Goodwin (Malkovich). China has enough common sense to confront the salivating old man about the tabloid rumors. “He’s kinda gross you know, but hilarious,” she says afterward. Glen can’t think of anything else but what is going on between his daughter and the man he once admired and it begins to destroy everything in his life.
While not his directorial debut, it’s far from a solid piece of filmmaking.
I Love You Daddy is another one of those films where the overweight, balding, “non-ladies man” not only writes himself around beautiful women, but that they would be interested in him. There is an underlying narcissism here with CK’s work, and in deed Woody Allen’s older stuff, as they cast themselves as this desired object which is as fantastical and absurd as any subject matter in the plot. Charlie Day’s character represents exactly the type of real life scumbag Hollywood is currently regurgitating. His motormouth vulgarity and crass dialogue is one of the films biggest detractors. No one would be laughing at the things he is saying and doing in this climate, but how many people would have found his role funny otherwise?
From a technical standpoint, disregarding the films baggage, I Love You Daddy has some fairly obvious editing jump cuts and continuity issues. While not his directorial debut, it’s far from a solid piece of filmmaking. The pacing becomes tedious when the plot bottlenecks, having only one clear direction forward. Moretz role is both the highlight of the film and one of its most uncomfortable elements. Moretz has always been far more talented than her years, but feels exploited here because of her looks and age. She balances both the spoiled, naïve, bimbo with the introductory feminist making her own rules and choices in a mans world. CK’s supporting characters end up being far more interesting than he does.
A review for a film that will likely never be released to the public. Note, you’re not missing much.