I Love My Dad Will Make Your Stomach Hurt

Patton Oswalt and James Morosini in I LOVE MY DAD, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

I Love My Dad goes full cringe comedy and your stomach will be hurting from laughing throughout the 90-minute comedy.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that nothing came from the Oscar-winning Ratatouille. Because of his Ratatouille bucks, Patton Oswalt made this film one of his first as a producer. Unless the comedian was joking about this during the Q&A back in May…

Writer-director-star James Morosini delivers a solid comedy while drawing on his own experiences. It’s won audience awards during multiple film festivals. And now, the film gets to play in front of a wider audience in its theatrical and digital releases this month. I come from a background in improv–let me tell you, this film is a nonstop laugh riot. Anyway, Chuck (Patton Oswalt) is estranged from his son, Franklin (James Morosini). After speaking with Jimmy (Lil Rel Howery) about his son blocking him, Chuck does the unthinkable: he catfishes his own son by pretending to be a local waitress, Becca (Claudia Sulewski). Franklin doesn’t know any of this and starts falling in love with Becca. Before you know it, the messaging is nonstop.

Chuck has his work cutout when Franklin decides he wants to spend time with him. It’s not so much because of his father. It is because he is in love with Becca, who Chuck is pretending to be on social media. Only Becca doesn’t know it. If you think this is going to go in the way you think, well, who I am to prove you wrong. It’s a recipe for disaster and you can’t help but cringe and laugh your way along in the process. There are things that I will not even discuss in my review because the film works better when you see it unfolding in front of your eyes.

I Love My Dad
Claudia Sulewski and James Morosini in I LOVE MY DAD, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

If any of you are parents and estranged from your children, do not catfish them. Don’t, just don’t. It is the worst idea in the history of bad ideas and I should not have to tell you again. To quote filmmaker James Morosini, catfishing your own children is “fucked up.” Please consider working it out in therapy. I don’t know if I can sit myself through another catfishing comedy when I Love My Dad is the hardest I’ve laughed since maybe The Hangover or Bridesmaids. You think shitting in a bridal shop is bad? You haven’t seen anything yet! As far as catfishing comedies are concerned, this is way better than the Netflix catfishing rom-com. Coincidentally, Netflix will premiere a two-part UNTOLD documentary about Manti Te’o being a catfishing victim on August 16.

Claudia Sulewski delivers a breakout performance. I don’t know about Oscar consideration but one would think that she’ll get some Spirit Award attention. She’s got a promising future in acting. I would say more about her performance but I fear that I might get into spoiler territory.

They always say to write what you know. James Morosini certainly does in his breakout sophomore feature. His film solicits empathy for Chuck while allowing audiences to understand why his father acts in a way that’s so wrong. Chuck thinks he is doing the right thing but it’s wrong on every conceivable level. If a new level comes into existence, it’ll be wrong on that one, too. I don’t know what it means to be a child of divorce and so I can’t offer anything from that perspective. What I can say is that I feel sad for all parties involved in watchhing the film because it reached the point where Chuck catfishes his own son.

Hantz Motion Pictures, American High, and Burn Later Productions are among the producers.

I Love My Dad is based on a true story but this cringe comedy is the be-all-end-all of catfishing comedies. It is not only one of the best comedies of the year but a strong contender for the Solzy Awards later this year. I know that you have a lot to choose from this weekend but do yourself a favor and watch this cringe comedy. It is a solid work of independent filmmaking. Please don’t get any stupid thoughts about catfishing your children because they’ll make a film about you. Do you really want this to happen? I didn’t think so.

CAST: James Morosini, Patton Oswalt, Claudia Sulewski, Rachel Dratch, Ricky Velez, with Lil Rel Howery and Amy Landecker

Magnolia Pictures will release I Love My Dad in theaters on August 5, 2022 and Digital on August 12, 2022. Grade: 4.5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.