Jul 31, 2012

Movie Review: God Bless America

Frank Murdoch (Joel Murray) gets neglected by his family, fired from his job, and diagnosed with terminal cancer all in a very short period of time, but Frank's been on edge for a long time. With the world progressively getting stupider, shallower, and overly obsessed with all of the modern fast-paced go-go world, Frank's had enough. Frank goes on a killing spree which by pure coincidence is witnessed by a young high school girl named Roxy (Tara Lynn Barr). Roxy shares Frank's murderous hatred for the world and joins him on his quest to rid the world of eliminating, or at least punishing the wickedly stupid.

Warning: NSFW Due To Language and Violence

The complete lack of danger Frank and Roxy are in from start to finish bothered me in this film. The pair run from crime scenes whenever they commit a murder, but there's never any inclination that they're in any danger of being caught, and they play this up by continually just murdering out in broad day light in public settings. There's also the problem of Roxy's character, which was very hit and miss. Tara Lynn Barr hits the sarcastic Ellen Page/Emma Stone/Chloe Moretz mouthy teen role well, even getting jokingly called Juno by Frank, which is great. What was teeth-grinding was Roxy's monologues/arguments about her shared disdain for today's society and how it felt completely forced. I never heard her say anything that felt like a legitimate teenager gripe, even one full of angst against the world. It was clearly just a great young actress reading the script of an bitter and aged Bobcat Goldthwait, who made no attempt to mask his voice. Finally, I couldn't ignore the complete lack of response by characters or directing to the fact Frank is at least somewhat justified in his insanity given all he's lost in a short period of time, and all he intends to lose in the near-future, whereas Roxy is just a straight up, cut-throat, stone cold, Children of the Corn killer. Never even acknowledged.

My Highlights:
Roxy's first kill and the final scene of the film. I would have enjoyed the movie theater scene as well if it weren't for the recent Dark Knight Rising massacre.

Overall Rating:
This is a very charming dark comedy but sometimes gets too dark. It has a lot of flaws contrasting with a lot of heart. Frank is basically what makes you want to keep watching the movie despite the blaring problems. Overall, if you've ever seen Bobcat Goldthwait's performances/acting/stand-up, you have a pretty good idea of the creative direction this movie is going to take. Rating...

3 / 5

When You Should See It:
It's not a film worth avoiding, but unless you're a very angry person it's probably not a film worth seeking out. It's a decent watch, but there are probably better films to put at the top of your queue.