‘I Love My Dad’ Is Cringy But Lil Rel Howery Makes Catfishing Funny [Exclusive]
The wild catfish cringe comedy I Love My Dad needed at least one voice of reason and actor Lil Rel Howery’s role as the best friend “Jimmy” was one way to comedically remind the audience – yep, all of this is completely twisted.
But this is a true story of how actor/filmmaker James Morosini’s dad catfished him using a fake Facebook profile of a beautiful young woman when Morosini cut him out of his life. The experience became the inspiration for the ultimate cringe comedy, starring Morosini as Franklin and Patton Oswalt as his dad, Chuck.
In the film, Chuck complains to Jimmy that his son blocked him out of his life. Jimmy muses, “My ex blocked me one time and I just started a different page, under a different name … I check it all the time she never even knew.” Ding, ding, ding.
Of course, once Jimmy realizes Chuck launched a page using the images and information of Becca, an attractive waitress he briefly encountered at a local diner, he’s horrified. Especially when he learns that Franklin has now fallen in love with Becca (Chuck).
“This is creepy as –,” Jimmy tells Chuck when he realizes what his friend has done. Later hilariously adding, “This is incest.”
Why was Jimmy so pivotal in ‘I Love My Dad’?
Morosini explained to Showbiz Cheat Sheet why Jimmy was important not only to the storyline but also to the comedic element. “I needed to have characters in the script that really served as a voice for the audience that was calling him out on his behavior in the ways that we wish we could if we were there with him,” Morosini said of Jimmy.
At one point in the film, Franklin, Chuck and Jimmy hit the karaoke bar, which is when Franklin tells Jimmy about the new love of his life. “Keep your expectations low,” Jimmy advises Franklin. “She could be mean, or a scammer … or your dad.” They all laugh … a little too hard.
“And what that did is it also gave Chuck an opportunity to defend his position and to explain to the audience, ‘Hey, here’s why I’m going about doing this. I don’t have any other choice.’ And so I felt like it kept us in dialog with what was going on with him internally and where his head was at the whole time so that we can really stay on board with him,” he added. “And we felt like we were kind of cosigning a lot of his really bad decisions throughout the story.”
Lil Rel Howery embraces playing the best friend role in films
Howery told The Hollywood Reporter he has become somewhat of a professional best friend that just about everyone can relate to in his films like Get Out and Free Guy. “You know, one of my producer homies said this to me a couple weeks ago. He said, ‘You know what you do?’ I said, ‘What do I do’” He said, “You pick characters that represent everyday people.” That’s intentional. I love representing a good friend. There’s different versions of it, but it’s like, this is what a good friend looks like. And there’s going to be a friend in everything you watch.”
He knows the importance of the friendship element in his films. “I do it because I like to represent the everyday person and I think friendships are part of that and they are also so important,” he said. “I know I love my friendships, so to actually represent friendship on screen as much as I can — I love it.” Adding, “Maybe it’s a Guinness World Record or something that I’ve played the friend in the most things ever or I’m the most memorable friend of all time.”
James Morosini wanted ‘I Love My Dad’ to be ‘heartbreaking’ but also ‘hysterically funny’
Morosini had to balance the cringe factor with comedy, while simultaneously sketching multi-dimensional characters.
“I wanted to make a movie that was both very sincere but also had elements of sarcasm to it,” he shared. “And I wanted it to be heartbreaking in some ways, but then also kind of hysterically funny. So that it never went too far in either direction. Or actually, that went way too far in both directions. That was really my intent because the main character, Chuck, who plays my character’s dad, played by Patton Oswald, is going about trying to make sure his son is OK in completely the wrong way.”
Morosini said his dark sense of humor is inspired by his dad, who he said is the funniest person he knows. “I mean, he’s such a goofball. And, you know, he was the first person that gave me a video camera. I was the one directing all of our home videos. And, I’ve been making movies since I was a really little kid. So he’s one of the most complicated and funny people I’ve ever met. And laughs at everything, no matter what it is. And it’s something I really love about him.”
I Love My Dad is currently available on Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand.