Have you ever spent 2 hours watching a man confess to sex crimes in black and white?
I just did.
I Love You, Daddy is Louis CK’s first feature film since his 2001 masterpiece Pootie Tang (that movie is a gift from God and I will die on this hill if I have to.) It was scrapped a week before it’s release date after his sexual misconduct scandal.
The film recently leaked online. I was curious and I wanted to see it. So I found the movie and checked it out. And all I can say is…..
Forget Get Out and It, this was the creepiest horror movie of the year.
I’m the furthest thing from a movie snob. But I Love You, Daddy is a disaster in a very special way. It’s boring, uncomfortable and self-indulgent. Ironically, it feels like being forced to watch Louie jerk himself off.
To sum up the plot, CK plays Glen Topher, a wildly successful comedic writer (a stretch, I know). Glen idolizes Leslie Goodwin (played by John Malcovich), an iconic filmmaker who’s followed by the dark shadow of an unproven sexual abuse allegation. The character is so blatantly based on Woody Allen they should have just named him Shmoody Shmallen.
Schmoody Shmallen, who’s in his late 60’s, starts hanging out with Glen’s 17 year old daughter (played by Chloe Grace Moretz), which sends CK’s character into a spiral of anxiety, as he obsessively wonders if his elderly hero is fucking his underage daughter.
Ok…. there’s a lot of unpack here.
The film juggles themes of consent, celebrity rumors, and sexual predators. In light of his real life actions, the fact that CK thought this movie was a good idea is baffling. And the film deals with all these topics with the tastefulness and subtlety of a chainsaw decapitation.
The film isn’t without its bright spots. Charlie Day is hilarious in a supporting role. Malcovich gives a masterful performance as Goodwin, effortlessly balancing a quiet charisma with uncomfortable creepy undertones to build an intriguing character, and it’s shame that no one will see his performance.
But other than 2 great performances, a few chuckles and a unique premise, I Love You, Daddy is a pretentious mess that’s as creepy as it’s title.
It’s shot in black and white. It’s supposed to feel artsy but it just feels like it was made by an obnoxious film student with sleeve tattoos about the dangers of gluten.
The classical music that blasts throughout the film doesn’t help. Everything about the movie screams “LOOK AT HOW ARTISTIC I AM!!!” with the subtlety of an 8 year old boy begging his mom to watch him do a dive into the pool.
Everything about the aesthetic is Louie desperately trying to be Woody Allen, he should have went all the way and just named the film Manhattan II: Electric Boogaloo.
And let me tell ya, the amount of creepiness jam packed into this movie is kinda impressive. I Love You, Daddy is basically the cinematic equivalent of OJ’s “If I Did It” book.
Watching Chloe Grace Moretz play a HEAVILY sexualized underaged girl doesn’t feel subversive or edgy, it just feels uncomfortable. If I wanted to see a 17 year old girl sexualize herself I’d spent 5 seconds on Instagram.
She flaunts around in a bikini and only refers to her father as “daddy.” Show me a girl over the age of 9 that still calls her father “daddy” and I’ll show you someone who has permanent brain damage from a severe dirt bike accident.
There are multiple scenes where CK’s character lectures other characters on feminism and consent. Watching Louis CK preach about sexual assault is like watching a Neo-Nazi talk about the importance of tolerance.
At one point, CK’s character tells his daughter to not automatically believe rumors and unproven accusations about celebrities. He has a point, the mob mentality of social media has pushed us to get unreasonably offended at the prospect of “innocent until proven guilty.” But Louie is the worst possible messenger for this, for obvious reasons.
In another scene, Charlie Day’s character mimes masturbating in front of a hot woman. Imagine jerking off in front of women, and then putting a gag about jerking off in front of women in your movie. What kinda “zodiac killer mailing clues to the local newspaper” bullshit is this?
Near the end, a character has a monologue about how everyone is secretly perverted, saying “I’m a pervert, you’re a pervert, we’re all perverts, who cares?” At that point, I was expecting Louie to just smile and look directly into the camera.
It’s almost like Louie went out of his way to make the creepiest film possible. A character mistakes CK’s daughter for his girlfriend. CK’s character tries to fuck his daughters teenaged friend. A character talks about the flimsy concept of age and consent by saying that she fucked a man in her 50’s when she was 15 and she enjoyed it.
I Love You, Daddy feels like a 2 hour confession/ justification. To put it into perspective, imagine if Chris Brown released a new album called Beating Women Isn’t Actually That Bad, Part 1.
If Louie’s actions ever went to trial, a lawyer could just show this movie in the courtroom and Louie would immediately get 20 years in prison (not for sexual abuse, just for making a pretentious movie.)
For someone who was followed by (true) allegations of sexual misconduct, this movie feels like Louis CK exposing himself. And if there’s one thing we know about Louis CK, it’s that he loves exposing himself.