Magazine article Screen International

God Bless America

Magazine article Screen International

God Bless America

Article excerpt

Dir/scr: Bobcat Goldthwait. US. 2011. 99mins

Bobcat Goldthwait's murder-spree social satire may take inspiration from Bonnie & Clyde, but this American independent black comedy is a far breezier exercise in renegade violence.

Not outrageous enough for true B-movie fans, but too outrageous for art-house audiences.

Never taking itself too seriously, the film follows a disgruntled 45-year-old man (Joel Murray), separated from his family, fired from his job, diagnosed with a terminal illness, and mad-as-hell with America¹s culture of stupidity, hatefulnesss and selfishness and doesn¹t want to take it anymore. "Why do we have a civilization," he says, concluding an angry tirade against hate radio and reality TV, "if we don¹t care about being civil anymore?"

At the end of his rope, Frank is finally propelled to take out his old army gun and seek retribution for what he sees as wrong with the U.S.A. His first target: a spoiled reality TV rich girl who screams at her parents for buyingher the wrong car. After Frank¹s initial success ridding the planet of people "who deserve to die," he finds a more-than-willing companion in Roxy (Tara Lynn Barr), a spirited alternative teenage girl who¹s thrilled with the prospect ofkilling off jocks, people who give high fives, women who call their breasts "the girls," along with a whole litany of others.

In a funny bit of self-aware scriptwriting, the film evokes Juno, with its similarly loquacious adolescent, and takes a funny jab at screenwriter Diablo Cody. No one in pop culture, it seems, is safe from Goldthwait¹s crosshairs.

Frank and Roxy¹s self-righteous murder spree gets off to a rousing start in a movie theater. When a group of teens are talking on their cellphones during a Vietnam War documentary, Frank picks them off one by one to the darkly ironic sounds of the 1951 song It¹s Oh So Quiet on the soundtrack. …

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