‘God Bless America,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


It’s only May and I already have my favorite film of the year: Bobcat Goldthwait’s “God Bless America,” as acidic and funny a movie as you’re likely to see this or any other year. Already available on VOD, it opens in limited theatrical release Friday (5/11/12).

An antidote to the current state of popular culture and media, “God Bless America” takes square aim at everything that is crass, craven and crappy on television, radio and everywhere else. From politics to talk radio to TV talkers to reality TV and beyond, Goldthwait’s film employs a slash-and-burn approach – and creates wildly funny moments in the process.

His hero is Frank (Joel Murray), an average guy who works in an office in Syracuse. He’s divorced and has a daughter who is a blossoming young brat. Frank, a mild-mannered fellow, is appalled by much of what he sees and hears in the media: “Why have a civilization if we’re no longer interested in being civil?” he muses.

Frank seems to be the office shmo, just because he doesn’t yuk it up over the latest outrage on a local morning radio show. When his office mate expresses surprise that Frank isn’t amused, Frank tells him, “I’m not afraid of foreign people or people with vaginas,” two prime targets.

Frank has feelings for a secretary at his office – but when he tries to express his innocent interest in seeing her by sending flowers, he’s fired for creating a hostile work environment. Then he gets a terminal diagnosis from his doctor. Things couldn’t get much worse.

Sitting home drinking, he happens to switch channels to a reality show about a spoiled rich girl named Chloe – and sees his own daughter’s future. Something snaps, and Frank decides that, as his final act, he’s going to rid the world of this teen harridan. So he drives 400 miles in a stolen car – and shoots her in the face.

There’s a witness to the crime: a classmate of Chloe’s named Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), who hates all the same things about contemporary society that Frank does. She talks Frank out of killing himself after he offs Chloe – and convinces him that they can strike a blow for sanity by going on a killing spree, eliminating everything they think is wrong with the culture.

“With so many people out there who should be taking the big dirt nap, why stop now?” she reasons.

This review continues on my website.

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