Art imitates

Louis C.K.’s new film will not be playing at a theater near you

The week before last, I got a message telling me Louis C.K. was available for interviews in advance of his new film, I Love You, Daddy, which at the time was scheduled to be released in Chico on Dec. 1. And along with a link for streaming the film, I also got a form asking for, among other things, my reaction to the movie.

I was a little peeved that my opinion of the film was needed before being granted an interview, but no big deal. I had a bunch of outlets interested in a story and, as a longstanding, rabid Louis C.K. fan, I figured the movie would be great. Right?

Wrong. This is easily the worst thing C.K. has done since Pootie Tang. Not only is it a bad movie on a purely technical level, but its subject matter is, as you may already know, highly suspect.

Over the past couple of years, I had read disturbing rumors of C.K.’s demented sexual proclivities, and this weird movie seems to be a sort of strange confessional about his then “alleged” mistreatment of some female colleagues and fans.

It also seems to be giving the finger to people who take issue with artists who do stupid, arguably criminal things, as if people are just being shallow for not separating art from a person’s bad behavior. It has a real creepy, odd vibe to it. And, as I’ve already stated, it’s just not very good.

After watching, I sent a reply saying I did not like the movie and I withdrew myself from consideration to interview the comedian.

A few hours later, The New York Times story on C.K.’s previous sexual misconduct broke, followed shortly thereafter by the comedian’s half-assed apology to the five women who came forward in the piece. Those mistreatments are no longer alleged, and now nobody will be interviewing Louis C.K. or seeing what is now an even more shitty movie considering what has transpired. The garbage film’s release has been canceled by its distributor, The Orchard.

C.K. self-funded and directed the movie in secret so nobody could tell him what he could and could not put into it. Man, does that ever show. One of those pesky studios would’ve told him the movie looked like crap, and questioned the questionable subject matter, all things considered.

He shot it on black-and-white 35mm film quickly and cheaply. It looks washed out and poorly constructed. This “art” film is, in part, an homage to Woody Allen’s Manhattan as well as a defense of C.K.’s cinematic idol, which makes it all the more troubling. It features an older director, played by John Malkovich (and clearly modeled after Allen) who is notorious for sleeping with under-age girls. C.K. plays a famous TV producer, a character who deeply admires the director’s work, but his fandom is called into question when said director takes an interest in his 17-year-old daughter, China, played by Chloë Grace Moretz.

The movie actually features a character (played by Charlie Day) mimicking vigorous masturbation while C.K talks to a woman on speaker phone. So, included in this insane film is a slapstick depiction of the very thing C.K. has since admitted doing.

I Love You, Daddy is billed as C.K.’s modern statement on feminism, but it actually is something closer to straight-up misogyny. It’s sad to see Moretz, Edie Falco and Rose Byrne virtually humiliated.

And it’s hard to take seriously C.K.’s apology—on what was supposed to be the day of the film’s national premiere—after seeing its content. I Love You, Daddy plays like a career suicide note, as if C.K. knew his day of reckoning was coming. He made what might be his last film perhaps knowing he was doomed or, even worse, thinking he was bulletproof. It is totally gross and stupid, and it will not be playing at a theater near you.