Review: God Bless America
PLOT: Frank (Joel Murray) has had it. Tired of his nagging ex-wife, his cell-phone addict daughter, his noisy, moronic neighbors, and his idiotic co-workers, Frank realizes that they’re all victims is the increasingly inane pop-culture that now dominates North America. After watching an insufferable, Paris Hilton-style teenager on a show called ‘My Super-Sweet Sixteen’, Frank snaps- going so far as to hunt the reality show star down, and kill her. One of her school-mates, the rebellious Roxy (Tara Lynn-Barr) catches Frank in the act, and convinces him to continue his killing spree, with the two embarking on a cross country rampage, targeting reality show stars, fear-mongering news hosts, and your average asshole.
REVIEW: Bobcat Goldthwait. As a child of the eighties, I grew up watching the Bobcat in flicks like ONE CRAZY SUMMER, the POLICE ACADEMY movies, and even HOT TO TROT (opposite a talking horse voiced by John Candy). How could I have known that the inane vehicles he was slapped into were about as far from his naturally dark humor as he could get, with the great SHAKES THE CLOWN being our first insight into the real Bobcat.
Following the underrated WORLD’S GREATEST DAD (in which SPY KIDS’ Darryl Sabara gave the comedic performance of the year), Bobcat turns his attention to something that has become the bane of every intelligent person’s existence. Fuckin’ reality TV. Grrrr…how I despite this shit. REAL HOUSEWIVES OF “who the fuck cares”, AMERICAN IDOL, anything with Paris Hilton or the Kardashians, what the hell has happened to our society that this is considered entertainment?
Bobcat turns his incisive humor on these phenomena, which is dumbing down North American’s at an alarming rate. Bobcat’s road odyssey of violence is one of the funniest films of the year, and anyone who dug WORLD’S GREATEST DAD will get a kick out of this.
As the terminally-pissed off hero, Joel Murray (Freddy “I wet my pants” Rumsen from MAD MEN) is superb, with his anger at the dumbing down of his country being understandable. How many of us have been in his shoes? In a way, Murray acts out our own darkest fantasies, knocking off the talentless reality show stars that are poisoning pop culture. However, they’re not the only target, with a Glenn Beck-style fear-mongerer making a well-deserved target midway through.
GOD BLESS AMERICA is exactly the kind of comedy we need. It’s funny- in an incredibly dark way, but it also turns a critical eye on the many problems within our society, mainly that we’ve become a culture that makes the dumbest, most inane of us celebrities. This is all so we can feel superior, but in the process, we send a horrible message to the younger generation that, frighteningly, aspire to be the next Paris Hilton, or Kate Gosselin.
If GOD BLESS AMERICA has a flaw, it’s this. After a knock-out opening forty-five minutes, the film starts to take its own message a little too seriously, and whenever the melodrama started to creep in a bit, the film lost its edge. However, this is minor, as whenever it goes off the rails, it always gets back on track. The blood-bath climax, taking place at an AMERICAN IDOL-style competition, is a classic, and assures GOD BLESS AMERICA a cult following. But is that enough? To be, GOD BLESS AMERICA seems like a necessary film, with Bobcat presenting us with a very sobering message through comedy at it’s blackest. GOD BLESS AMERICA encourages us to take a long, hard look at ourselves, and what we enjoy. It’s hope is that next time we stumble on something like TMZ, we asks ourselves, “is this really good enough for me to spend time watching?” For TMZ, the answer is hell no, but for GOD BLESS AMERICA, the answer is hell yes.