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Like if Jenny Holzer wrote film reviews. The Parallax Review is a website dedicated to dissecting movies in terms of cultural context, ideology, aesthetics, and more. From Stalker to Hackers and beyond! Run by your girl, @okaythanksmaria

In Review: Come to Daddy (2020)

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Come to Daddy has an excellent title screen and that is perhaps the most positive thing I can say about this latest Elijah Wood + jokes + violence vehicle. Wood's last foray into this brand of dark, comedic territory--I Don't Feel At Home in This World Anymore--is currently available on Netflix, and I'd recommend streaming it as soon as you finish reading this review. Come to Daddy, like it's title, promises something inappropriate is surely waiting for you in the wings, if only you keep watching. Unfortunately, where it goes isn't really all that titillating.

The film begins with a sequence not unlike the opening of The Lighthouse, and for a while, I'm practically tingling with anticipation. I really sensed Come to Daddy would be some grotesque, Girl Talk-but-make-it-visual mash-up of The Lighthouse and Queen of Earth, plus jokes. As the film breezes on, it hints at a world even more dark, off-kilter and fun. I. Was. Ready.

Wood plays a dopey DJ-slash-party promoter-slash-"artist" with an even dopier haircut. He's not cool, and I'm cool with it. The initial back and forth between him and his estranged father, played perfectly by Stephen McHattie, is genuinely funny and kept me on my toes, expecting some wild shit to go down. Wood's character--sorry, his name is NORVAL--has major trust fund kid energy that renders him soft and selfish. I couldn't help but cringe, watching how eager Norval is to impress his long lost father, and how little he understands how to navigate the emotional gulf between them. It doesn't help that his father, in turns, seems to only want to ignore or to humiliate Norval.

As expected, the plot thickens, and the film's eye dilates to expose a slew of slimy characters and some (unnecessary?) backstory. Body parts are punctured, surfaces are splattered with blood, and there are two separate poop-related shenanigans. Sadly, all of this cinematic hand-waving amounts to very little; leaving the theater I felt neither amused nor thoughtful. I support Elijah Wood making more movies like this, but, like, good: I'm really not interested in him becoming some sort of Millennial Nick Cage.

Letterboxd rating: ⭐⭐

Movies in this genre I enjoyed much more:

I Don't Feel At Home in This World Anymore, Villains, The Art of Self-Defense

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