Eye For Film >> Movies >> God Bless America (2011) Film Review
God Bless America
Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald
Frank (Joel Murray) is a worker drone in a soul-crushing job (which he's fired from - for doing a decent thing for an upset co-worker), separated from his soon-to-be-remarried ex-wife, and despised by his ignorant nine year old child. He's diagnosed with a brain tumour and sits in front of the idiot box, soaking up its toxic brew of hate, cruelty, victimisation and egregious scandal.
Eventually ready to suck on a bullet, he's hit with inspiration from a vile reality TV star, who throws a bizarrely hateful tantrum because her parents gave her a car but it isn't the one she asked for. As a last hurrah, Frank decides to off the spoiled little stain. He meets Roxy, a damaged young teenager - a character reminiscent of the namechecked Diablo Cody. Rather than off himself afterwards, Roxy convinces Frank to team up and clear the US of its societal vermin: obnoxious political commentators, rude theatre patrons, bigots, and all other people "who deserve to die". It's an Aaron Sorkin rogues gallery with a Howitzer.
God Bless America is an uneven series of sketches. Some are superb and wildly unpredictable (Frank's surprise gun jam leads to a glorious ecstasy of fumbling and chasing around a living room); others miss their mark by miles. The film is often stronger in the quiet moments, skewering people who readily slap a "Remember 9-11-01" bumper sticker on their car but despise fellow drivers. Solidarity, my piehole!
Furthermore, there is not a single, living breathing character in the script. They are Goldthwaite's screenwriting and tirade delivering pawns. Admittedly, Joel Murray does well with the material; his sadsack demeanour and strong performance proves empathetic, even as he's happy about slaughtering dozens of people. That, and I found myself nodding along with many of his speeches.
The movie is quickly and cheaply made - so much so the soundtrack clearances probably cost more than the film itself - but it doesn't matter. Goldthwaite's direction is strong enough to paper over his script of often magnificent barbed gags, although there are ultimately few ideas beyond the first hour.Reviewed on: 06 Jul 2012