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Review of Dark Comedy "God Bless America" (Bobcat Goldthwait)
Written and directed by stand-up comic and actor Bobcat Goldthwait, God Bless America is a satirical black comedy which premiered in 2011 and was released in 2012. Goldthwait has written and directed other films, such as Sleeping Dogs Lie and World's Greatest Dad. Starring Joel Murray as Frank, out main character, and Tara Lynne Barr as Roxy, the plot follows Frank as he acts out his hatred for modern American society.
So with America, a source of incredible amounts of potential satire, as his aim, does Goldthwait successfully deliver his scathing assault effectively, or does he fail this laughably easy task of making Americans laugh at themselves and their fellow countrymen? Let's take a look!
The movie starts off well enough, with our hateful hero, Frank, lamenting the noise and disturbances made by his ignorant and inconsiderate neighbors, especially their stupid baby. Our first taste of the dark comedy is Frank's fantasy, in which he busts into his neighbor's house and shoots the father and baby, drenching him in blood as he smiles. He is kept up with his migraines and watches all the garbage on T.V., depressed. Here, Goldthwait hits on the superficial nature of entertainment nowadays, bashing Conservative talk-show hosts and reality T.V. shows.
He also sees the America Idol-like show where everyone laughs at an apparently mentally ill boy. On the way to work, he listens to ads and talk reflecting the dumbing down of our culture, which is also is continued at his workplace. The workplace where, incidentally, he is let go for sending flowers to a woman he wanted to cheer up, as it violated their overly-politically correct regulations. Not a great time for the man, honestly, as he is then informed, by that jerk-off doctor of his, that he has a tumor in his brain and may die soon. He resolves, understandably, to kill himself, but is stopped when he witnesses a spoiled girl on T.V. that he considers worth killing.
After stealing his neighbor's car and riding all night to complete his evil deed, he comes across Roxy, an intelligent yet hateful young girl who wants to accompany Frank on his quest to kill those undeserving. Our Bonnie and Clyde heroes go around killing those they think should die, like Bill O'reilly-like Conservative commentators, anti-homosexual protesters, and people who talk in movie theaters. The fun is cut short, however, when he receives word that his careless doctor mixed up his MRI, and he is not dying.
He receives yet another shock when he see on T.V. Roxy's parents, who end up not being the terrible abusers she claimed they were in order to get Frank to allow she accompany him. Upset at this deceit, he leaves her to go kill those damned "American Superstarz" judges and fans. Buying an AK-47, he takes to the show and makes a rather heart-felt speech about our socitey today. Roxy comes out from the audience and joins Frank in killing as many people as possible before being shot down in a hail of gunfire from police.
Conclusion: While there were some laughs along the way, overly long and tedious monologues can detract from its satire. Yes, people are mean. Yes, it shouldn't be that way. No, overly long and unnecessary dialogues don't work well to communicate these points. The writing suffers a bit, and I feel a lot (as in, a whole lot) of potential was wasted here. Call it the direction of Goldthwait, call it the writing of Goldthwait, but Bobcat no doubt missed his mark by quite the measure. Good for a watch and a few laughs. 6/10
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