‘I Love My Dad’ is the father of heartfelt cringe comedies

James Morosini (right) writes, directs and stars as a young man who gets catfished by his estranged father (Patton Oswalt) in

Released in a handful of theaters last week and heading to video on demand Friday, “I Love My Dad” has a sweet-sounding title. It hides a cringey comedy that, despite some of its darkness, displays a lot of hard-hitting emotions.

It’s a smart film about the illusions of online relationships and how people struggle to connect in the modern world. When you learn about the film’s plot, you might think it’s too strange or perhaps harbors suspicious motives. But the filmmakers maintain a spirit of humanistic comedy we haven’t seen outside of Alexander Payne or Hal Ashby in the past 50 years of American cinema. High praise indeed.

Chuck (Patton Oswalt) is a bad father. Inattentive and full of flimsy promises, he wreaks havoc on the emotions of his son Franklin (James Morosini, who also directs from his own script). The young man is introduced as having issues with suicide, though it’s unclear whether Franklin ever acted upon his ideas.

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