Bobcat Goldthwait, best known for his bat-shit crazy comedic persona that briefly bled into the Police Academy sequels – has transitioned to behind the camera and brought a distinct satirical voice in his debut where a father (Robin Williams) gains notoriety after adding false poetics to his son’s death by authoring a suicide note in World’s Greatest Dad.
Frank (Joel Murray) is despondent with society’s descent into a fame addicted mob and is on a mission to amputate those festering societal limbs. Along the way he finds an unlikely partner in crime in 16 year old Roxy (Tara Lynn Barr).
Goldthwait is fighting a crusade against the ritual “stupification” of the American population via the opiate of reality television and misinformation masquerading as news. For the opening stanza of the film Frank is the perfect, rational pragmatist that’s attempting to reason with stupid people intoxicated with narcissism and the cult of celebrity. Insomnia by inconsiderate neighbours (with grotesque revenge fantasy dreams), organic office discussions with colleagues that can’t elevate above water cooler talk bring about the film’s argument in a more subtle manner. However, the deeper we delve into this ‘crusade’ the more didactic and repetitious Goldthwait’s point gets.
The tempo of the film sags in the second act and the characters and the script lose all momentum. The resulting defibrillator to bring about the films conclusion overdoes and undersells some of the good work done.
Murray slots into the downtrodden Frank, and brings this really dark last resort, a somewhat sunny disposition. He’s a moral and logical ‘rock’ – out of time. Lynn Barr’s the evil angel Frank needs to have on his shoulder, coaxing him into this purge.
God Bless America opens strong but finishes with a preachy bludgeoning.
Directed by: Bobcat Goldthwait
Written by: Bobcat Goldthwait
Starring: Joel Murray, Tara Lynn Barr