Release Date: September 9, 2017 (Toronto International Film Festival)
Screened: September 9, 2017 (Toronto International Film Festival)
Runtime: 123 minutes
Rating: No Rating Yet (it will be R for language, I’m willing to bet)
Studio: None (self-financed by Louis C.K.)
Director: Louis C.K.
Cast: Louis C.K.; Chloë Grace Moretz; Charlie Day; John Malkovich; Rose Byrne; Edie Falco; Pamela Adlon; Helen Hunt; Ebonee Noel
Louis C.K. produces and films a movie under the cloak of secrecy from Hollywood and it proves to be a big, fun, surprisingly poignant treatise on the modern relationship between parent and child.
Written and directed by the comedian-actor, I Love You, Daddy (good movie, bad title), tells the story of Glen Topher, a successful writer-producer of TV shows whose over privileged, 17-year old daughter, China (Chloë Grace Moretz), has just returned from spring break in Florida and decided to live with her dad in his luxury condo rather than stay with her less-rich, bitter mother (a cameo-ing Helen Hunt). Meanwhile, Glen has committed to developing a new TV show for the fall season, much to the dismay of his producing partner (Edie Falco) who fears she won’t be able to meet the requisite time frame, and general amusement of his omnipresent companion, Ralph (Charlie Day), an apparently famous actor. Furthermore, he has agreed to cast sexy actress Grace Cullen (Rose Byrne) in the show (partly because she’s a “name,” and partly because he’s hot for her). While attending a party thrown by Grace at her Hamptons estate, Glen meets his idol, Leslie Goodwin (a very game and wry John Malkovich), a suspected pedophile who takes an immediate shine to China.
It may seem as though having all of these story elements floating around in one movie would make for a muddled mess, but remarkably, Louis C.K. manages to weave all of the parts together into one cohesive, and sometimes very funny movie. Filmed in stark black and white and utilizing New York City locations and a jazzy, big band score, I Love You, Daddy more than blatantly brings to mind the works of Woody Allen, albeit with a much more modern sensibility and certainly much more modern language. Louis C.K., as the Allen stand-in, manages to be just neurotic enough without descending into Allen’s trademark shtick. The entire company is well cast and perfectly suited to their roles; you get the feeling that this must have been a fun movie to make. Although there are times when Charlie Day runs the risk of becoming too hyperactive to handle, just when he reaches that point, the scene changes, or something so scandalously hilarious comes out of his mouth that you forget all about almost being annoyed by him (stay for the closing credits for a wonderful little coda from Day).
I Love You, Daddy is one of those movies where you just know that some, if not a lot, of the dialogue has been improvised, given the freewheeling nature of the film and the superior talent of its cast. Whatever the case is on that front, Louis C.K. has given us a work that further illustrates (his work in Blue Jasmine was spectacular) that he is one gifted fellow and is sure to share more of his tremendous talent to moviegoers for years to come. Secret or not, I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!