Movie Review: 'God Bless America' -- 3 stars
God Bless America
Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait
Starring Joel Murray and Tara Lynne Barr
These days, movies are often made inside a corporate bubble, calibrated for the widest possible audience and careful not to risk offending anyone. "God Bless America" angrily, refreshingly rejects that sanitized mindset.
Writer-director Bobcat Goldthwait gleefully indulges in the pitch-black comedy for which he's been known since his stand-up days, demolishing any semblance of good taste.
Main character Frank (Joel Murray) is your everyday, luckless middle-aged American. He's tired; tired of his neighbors' incessant loud yammering, the constant drivel he's exposed to on TV and what he sees as the full-scale dumbing down of the commercialized, materialistic culture.
One day, Frank snaps and murders a bratty reality TV star. Inspired, he and teenage accomplice Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr) set out on a full-on spree, traveling across the country and literally killing the worst symbols of mean-spirited pop cultural excess.
While the murders are seen in brief but gruesome detail, Goldthwait never lingers on them or focuses on their consequences. Murray is convincingly embittered as Frank, but the characters are mere conduits for satirical rage. So, realism isn't Goldthwait's primary concern, and the shock value quickly wears off.
What sticks, though, is the eerily spot-on mirror the filmmaker holds up to the audience, conveyed in his vision of American civilization crumbling amid a morass of loud, cacophonic nonsense.