GOD BLESS AMERICA (director/writer: Bobcat Goldthwait; cinematographer: Bradley Stonesifer; editors: David Hopper/Jason Stewart; music: Matt Kollar; cast: Joel Murray (Frank), Tara Lynne Barr (Roxy), Melinda Page Hamilton (Alison), Mackenzie Brooke Smith (Ava), Rich McDonald (Brad), Aris Alvarado (Steven Clark), Maddie Hasson (Chloe), Geoff Peirson (Frank’s Boss), Regan Burns (Michael Fuller), Brendalyn Richard (Karen), Dan Spencer (Doctor); Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Sean McKittrick/Jeff Culotta; Magnolia Pictures; 2011)
“Sicko one-trick pony film, whose black comedy is tiresome and mostly unfunny.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
New York comedian Bobcat Goldthwait (“Sleeping Dogs Lie”) writes-directs this American satire on the ill-effects of pop culture, vain celebrities, PC, hate talk radio show hosts, living a meaningless life and the dangers of America’s love affair with its gun culture–all easy targets to mock. The fantasy revenge film for nerds, cult film lovers and the silent majority is a sicko one-trick pony film, whose black comedy is tiresome and mostly unfunny tale about a pathetic low-key genteel sad-sack middle-aged man, Frank (Joel Murray), and a chatty bored thrill-seeking high school co-ed, Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), teaming up as a pair of serial killers cleansing the country of bad people, those who act rude and the soulless.
Insomniac and severely depressed Syracuse insurance worker Frank unfairly gets the sack, after 11 years faithful service, for a misunderstood act of kindness when the office receptionist (Brendalyn Richard) complains she’s sexually harassed when he sends flowers to her home; his spoiled young daughter (Mackenzie Brooke Smith) refuses to visit him; his divorced wife (Melinda Page Hamilton) he still loves is set to remarry a cop and his crass doctor (Dan Spencer) informs him that he’s terminally ill with a brain tumor. After putting a gun inside his mouth, Frank changes his mind about suicide and decides to kill a bitchy shrill wealthy 16-year-old high school student (Maddie Hasson) he viewed on a TV reality show and instantly detested. Roxy, who attends the same school as the vic and declares Frank did a good deed killing her, talks her way into teaming up with Frank as a possible Bonnie and Clyde couple. For starters they kill the bitches’revolting parents and then a lot of other obnoxious people, such as rude teens in a movie theater and a right-wing Fox radio talk show host dispensing misinformation.
After this fast-paced start there’s nowhere to go but downhill, as the talky pic never gains a plausible narrative, feels hollow and has nothing to say other than offering a few futile violent rants against bad people. The last half becomes unbearable to listen to such cheese from the obnoxious smarty-pants Roxy and the brain-dead civility-minded loser Frank, as the duo,platonic serial-killers seem as ugly and morally repugnant as the ones they are offing. At best, it could become a cult film that’s so insufferable it might draw as viewers those looking for mindless cheap thrills, insomniacs watching it on late night cable and those who might be as cynically inclined and as embittered as the outrageous film-maker.
REVIEWED ON 11/30/2012 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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