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God Bless America (3 stars)

Dark satire from comedian Bobcat Goldthwait about an oddball duo who embark on a killing spree

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God Bless America

Ironically titled but sincerely intended, God Bless America is a comedy drama about ‘going postal’. Boiling with rage at society’s ills are two avenging oddballs; they’re Bonnie and Clyde for anyone tired of being reduced to a mere consumer. From writer-director Bobcat Goldthwait (World’s Greatest Dad), God Bless America takes us on a colourful, violently righteous road trip.

Driven to distraction by discourteous neighbours and trash TV, American everyman Frank (Joel Murray) is a man millimetres from meltdown. When a misjudged gesture causes him to lose his job and he receives devastating news from a doctor, he becomes (to paraphrase Network) mad as hell and refuses to take it anymore. Frank makes-off in his neighbour’s beloved sports car with the aim of killing those who epitomise his frustrations. His first murder is witnessed by a schoolgirl, Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), a kindred spirit who becomes his partner in crime.

Though it’s a superhero free zone, we’ve seen vigilantes with young, peppy female sidekicks recently in Kick-Ass and Super. As that suggests, God Bless America suffers from a lack of original ideas. Still, its jubilant anarchism intermittently excites, there’s a smattering of well-executed gags and the cathartic violence set to euphoric tunes offers some (extremely) bad taste satisfaction. God Bless America screams in the face of a sick society, but its cries are drowned out by a sense that, unfortunately, we’ve seen this all before.

Selected release from Wed 4 July.

God Bless America

  • 3 stars
  • 2011
  • US
  • 104 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Bobcat Goldthwait
  • Written by: Bobcat Goldthwait
  • Cast: Joel Murray, Tara Lynne Barr, Mackenzie Brooke Smith, Melinda Page Hamilton
  • UK release: 4 July 2012

Recently diagnosed with a brain tumour, man on the edge Frank (Murray) decides to rid the world of rude and annoying people. After witnessing his first murder, schoolgirl Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr) becomes his sidekick as the duo embark on a killing spree. Dark and satirical, but disappointingly unoriginal.

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