What happens when a pampered, wimpy stilted, coddled man-child comes out looking for his deadbeat father at the age of 35? Director Ant Timpson (producer of some of my favorite gonzo movies, Deathgasm, and fucking TURBO KID!) answers that very question in the film Come To Daddy, which was a Fantastic Fest darling, and recently played a limited run out here at Brooklyn’s Alamo Drafthouse just last month.
Elijah Wood stars as the unfortunately named (and coiffed) Norval Greenwood, a man drifting between dependency (both on his mother, with whom he lives, and alcohol, from which many of his problems stem), and maturity.
The film opens with him dragging an over-sized suitcase across the rockiest of beaches, having accepted an invitation to meet his father for the first time in his long, rocky life. And his father is not at all what he (or the audience) at first thinks him to be.
Further discussion of the plot risks undermining its twists (and there are many MANY twists), but suffice it to say that Norval and his father really get to bond with one another in ways neither of them likely expected. Most of the first act plays out as an extension of the film’s trailer, but once the film dives into the second act and beyond, the gonzo factor gets ratcheted up to 50.
Wood is absolutely solid as the coddled, near-useless Norval; during the first-act build-up, he and his father could not have been more diametrically opposed to one another, and the uncomfortable tension that results from the two of them being in such close quarters with one another.
His attempts to impress his father here is met with absolute, cold contempt, as is his sober avoidance of alcohol (an avoidance that is short-lived once pops gets wind of it and exploits this weakness). Again, sticking mainly to the first act of this movie is crucial to avoiding any of the twists, and going in cold makes this movie that much more fulfilling.
A Q&A followed the screening, with Tim League, Elijah Wood, and Ant Timpson himself in attendance. Wood, sipping what looked like an Old Fashioned, seemed at ease, while Timpson spoke at length about the origin of Come To Daddy. Having spent most of the past decade-and-a-half producing films for his friends, Mr. Timpson felt it was time to tell his own story, especially following the death of his father.
Editor Dan Kircher, apparently, had helped shape the feel of the movie, a task made much easier once Timpson insisted on crafting a straightforward, linear narrative. Despite how weird the movie gets (and it gets downright surreal), it moves quickly, smoothly, and effectively, and even the unexpected turns make a considerable amount of sense.
Wood’s interest and attachment has followed in line with his producer’s credit of Richard Stanley‘s Color Out Of Space (which I ALSO reviewed, following a screening at the Brooklyn Drafthouse), and it’s great to see him support and produce odd little productions that might otherwise struggle to find the funding they might need. 4/5 Poop-Pens.
Come To Daddy is available for streaming on various VOD platforms.