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God Bless America


Do you watch Toddlers & Tiaras? The Real Housewives of (Insert City)? The Jersey Shore? One of the nine thousand singing competitions? Then Bobcat Goldthwait’s God Bless America is not for you. Well, it is for you, but in a much less positive way than you might be anticipating.

Grade:

Terminally ill and disliked by his ex-wife and daughter, Frank (Joel Murray) decides to go on a rampage killing all the vapid ingrates clogging America’s television screens. From the Sweet 16 snob to the shock-jockeys on faux Fox News, Frank hates them all with equal disdain for their influence over the mush-minded American populace. Along the way, he inherits a friend in the form of teenager Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), who shares an equal contempt for these people.

God Bless America is, overall, a pretty good movie with good characters and an entertaining premise. The problem arises in the fact that the film is kind of a one-trick pony. It starts with the vanity of Americans, sticks with it and ends in a blaze of superficial glory. Frank deals with his unruly neighbors, awful television shows, empty talk radio shows and finally idiotic coworkers who only discuss everything he had just seen or heard. As he puts it, “No one has real conversations anymore.” Everything ends up being a regurgitation of the previous night’s headlines.

When he is fired from his job and told of an inoperable brain tumor, Frank has two choices: kill himself or eradicate the causes of his discomfort in the world. From that point on, the film really moves from annoyance to annoyance as Goldthwait tells us how he really feels about spoiled rich girls, movie-theater talkers, news anchors with personal agendas and reality show judges. Frank and Roxy go about their business as the news and police chase radicals for the crimes committed.

Murray and Barr have a solid rapport that helps the film move along. She provides some much-needed energy as America was beginning to bore before her inclusion. At one point he calls her Juno, which is totally appropriate since she fires off lines at a ridiculous rate while finding ways to insult a half dozen different groups at once. Murray showcases Frank’s cynicism with a generally grumpy attitude and lack of interest in what he’s doing.

The cultural and sociological satire is omnipresent from the opening sequence to the last. We are inundated with reasons why our society is crumbling under the weight of our own stupidity. While Mike Judge took a more light-hearted approach to this same goal with Idiocracy, Goldthwait takes the more cynical approach and nips the idiocy at the bud, so to speak. In his attempt to lambast the superficial nature of our television airways, Goldthwait creates a film that’s substance is equally shallow.

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  1. Heard nothing but good, i’ll have to check this out 😀

    • Huard, David
    • August 12th, 2012

    This looks awesome

    Sent with Good (www.good.com)

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