(director/writer: James Morosini; cinematographer: Steven Calitri; editor: Josh Crockett; music: Jeremy Bullock; cast: James Morosini (Franklin), Patton Oswalt (Chuck), Claudia Sulewski (Becca), Lil Rel Howery (Jimmy), Rachel Dratch (Erica), Sarah Helbringer (Haley), Amy Landecker (Diane), Ricky Velez (Derek); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Bill Stertz, Patton Oswalt, Sean King O’Grady, Dane Eckerle, Phil Keefe, Daniel Brandt, Sam Slater: Atlas Industries; 2022)

The questionable story finds some comedy to make its unwatchable story more watchable.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The gooey, cringe-worthy plot for a parent-child relationship film is based on a true story, one that happened to director/writer/star James Morosini (“Threesomething”). It seems James Morosini‘s father, ten years ago, in a desperate attempt to reconnect with his estranged son – “catfished” him under the guise of a beautiful young woman his age named Becca (Claudia Sulewski).

Morosini plays a semi-fictionalized version of himself named Franklin. Patton Oswalt plays Chuck, his father, who has a heart of gold but doesn’t know how to be a good father.

In the film’s opening scenes, we witness the teenager Franklin (James Morosini) in a final group session before leaving the in-patient mental health treatment facility where he’s been staying after a suicide attempt. He blocks his dad from accessing all his social media accounts. Absentee father Chuck hasn’t been there to help his son with his problems and makes no hospital visits. Chuck’s family neglect is why he’s no longer married to his wife Diane (Amy Landecker).

Chuck’s best friend from work Jimmy (Lil Rel Howery) advises him to create a fake account to contact his son.

Dad, on Facebook, catfishes his son as he creates an online profile with pictures of the attractive waitress Becca, who works at his local diner.

Rachel Dratch plays Erica, dad’s horny but sensible girlfriend.

The questionable story finds some comedy to make its unwatchable story more watchable. Its ending might leave a smile on some of our faces by successfully resolving such messy things.

I found it a well-made film but not endearing, and Oswalt’s physical humor a matter of taste (but not mine).
It premiered at SXSW 2022.

REVIEWED ON 4/13/2022  GRADE:  C+