In his latest effort as a director, Louis C.K. is either the most or least self-aware person on the planet. Judging from the trailer for I Love You, Daddy, the pendulum could swing either way—as it has for critics who have already seen it.
In the movie, C.K.’s lead character, Glen, has his life unravel when his 17-year-old daughter China (Chloë Grace Moretz) begins seeing a significantly older director (John Malkovich) with a penchant for dating younger women. The trailer gives the impression that his daughter is conventionally attractive to the male gaze—which Glen is not exempt from—and that she might be encouraging this attention to some extent. There are some unsubtle parallels here to Woody Allen—the movie also looks like Manhattan—a man who infamously had an affair with Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his girlfriend Mia Farrow, before marrying her. (C.K. previously worked with the director on Blue Jasmine.)
It’s potentially problematic stuff—as one character tells Glen at the end of the trailer, “Everybody's a pervert. I'm a pervert. We're all perverts. Who cares?”—and that’s before even mentioning C.K.’s own rumored history of sexual misconduct with women. It’s something he apparently addresses in controversial fashion in I Love You, Daddy, per The Daily Beast: “He gleefully mimes jerking off at two points in the film and it’s hard to say whether his hand gestures can be deemed C.K.’s covert critique of his alleged misbehavior or a massive ‘fuck you’ to his critics,” Richard Porton writes.
We’ll have to wait until November 17 to see how moviegoers respond to this divisive film from a divisive comedian inspired by a divisive director.