Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

God Bless America

God Bless America
Joel Murray, Tara Lynne Barr, Mackenzie Brooke Smith, Melinda Page and Rich McDonald

Rated: R for strong violence and language including some sexual sequences.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: May 11, 2012 Released by: Magnolia Pictures

This new irreverent comedy from "Bobcat" Goldthwait (remember Police Academy) reunites him with Joel Murray (younger brother of Bill) who was featured in his first feature Shakes The Clown and costarred with him further back in One Crazy Summer. God Bless America is not as coherent and tightly crafted as his World's Greatest Dad which starred Robin Williams in what is a darkly ironic, sometimes quite funny (read: political) take on the odious nature of popular culture. He does establish some good scenes with the actor seen on small-screen hits like Mad Men when it comes to a popular reality TV show called American Superstarz before making too much of one of its contestants.
Murray is pretty good as the guy, Frank, with a mission of extinction on the way from Syracuse (Goldthwait's hometown) to Virginia who may have an inoperable tumor which may explain his lack of sleep and migraine headaches. Frank is let go from his job of over 10 years when he sends a coworker flowers. The director/scenarist posits Frank as the disgruntled Everyman out to rid the world of  commentators like Simon Cowell or Rush Limbaugh or many other representatives of uncouthness after an off-the-wall opening that has gotten into his consciousness. Once Frank offs a spoiled, disfavored high-school brat it's off on a homicidal spree with a similarly disaffected Roxy, a vivaciously profane Tara Lynne Barr, who may come across a bit like the Chloe Grace Moretz character in the exploitative, but more well-rounded Kick-Ass.
This low-budgeter has the filmmaker, maybe influenced by John Waters (Cecil B. Demented) displaying a rampaging Frank having enough like fired newscaster Howard Beale from Sidney Lumet's masterful (Network) as a seemingly sharp satire feels too segmented and tedious after getting out of the gate as a formidable fantasy. The writing doesn't denote effective use of widely used format where Frank and Roxy are like a new age Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, but don't attain the celebrity of those played by Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers. Through Murray and Barr (who definite have some legitimate rapport even if Barr can be a little bothersome) there is a porthole to how many of us would like to deal the decline of American civilization that may be a little too didactic. In the end, God Bless America probably overstays its welcome in spite of the sympathy established for its principal character; it's not the provocative cinematic rant you might have thought it would be, and those who'll probably see it (most likely in the VOD format) still may think twice when attending their nearby cineplex and not complying with its rules of etiquette and courtesy.

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God Bless America        B-                  B- 

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