Release Date – 23rd January 2023, Cert – 15, Run-time – 1 hour 35 minutes, Director – James Morosini
In an attempt to reconnect with his son (James Morosini), a father (Patton Oswalt) creates a fake dating profile in order to catfish him, resulting in a road-trip to meet the mystery girl.
James Morosini writes, directs and stars as a variation of himself (called Franklin) in this ‘based on true events’ tale of catfishing. “The following actually happened” reads the opening text “my dad asked me to tell you it didn’t”. Patton Oswalt plays his father, Chuck, trying his best to reconnect with his distant son, resorting to creating a fake dating profile – using images of a girl working in a diner he visits – in order to talk to his son. However, the secret becomes more difficult to hold when Chuck finds himself taking a road trip with Franklin in order to meet Becca (Claudia Sulewski).
With Morosini in control of multiple core aspects the film avoids feeling like someone simply reciting an amusing anecdote to you for 90 minutes. An actual narrative is formed and there’s a fair deal of amusement within the various instances which crop up over the course of the journey. While initially the two struggle to converse in the car but can happily message each other (with Chuck playing Becca, not to Franklin’s knowledge) the roles almost begin to switch as they start to communicate more, and struggle for things to talk about – “do you think they’ll make even more shows in the future?” is one topic of conversation between the ‘couple’.
In general there are a handful of chuckles here and there. Occasionally a familiar feeling sets in as if we’ve seen certain scene outlines, and general gags, before, but there’s still enough amusement to be had within the relationship between the two central characters. Certainly it’s the awkward humour which works best (although it’s certainly not the dominant style throughout the film) – a key scene in the later stages of the film in a diner has you watching through your fingers as the awkwardness is ramped up with each line of dialogue. It’s the two leads, and the occasional laughs that they bring which help to keep you engaged within this generally fine comedy.
Things move along well enough for the short 95-minute run-time. There’s a consistent tone and style which while never quite rising above the boundaries of ‘fine’ manage to keep you engaged and interested in the way things pan out. There’s enough to like and be amused by to help the run-time pass by and as a whole there’s enough to enjoy for the time the film lasts to make for worthwhile viewing. It’s just that, even for such a personal ‘based on a true story’ film, things occasionally feel somewhat familiar and as if we’ve seen them before, detracting from the film.
While there’s within I Love My Dad to amuse for the time that it’s on, largely thanks to the two leads emphasising occasionally awkward scenarios, there’s a clear feeling throughout that we’ve seen a number of elements and scene outlines before, creating a generally ‘fine’ feeling for the film overall.