God Bless America is a 2012 black comedy that revolves around Frank (Joel Murray) who’s life is slowly falling apart around him. His wife left him, his daughter wants nothing to do with him, he just got fired from his job on the basis of a sexual harassment complaint which persecuted him for the terrible crime of sending the woman in question flower, and he has an inoperable brain tumour. But perhaps worst of all, he is slowly becoming angry and jaded with modern society, mostly from the fact that everyone is laughing at a obviously mentally deficient man named Steven Clark (Aris Alvarado), who was cruelly humiliated by the judges on a not-so-subtle American Idol parody, American Superstarz.
After he contemplates killing his neighbours for their incessant yelling about the very culture Frank despises, he decides on suicide. But just before he does, he sees a TV show in yet another not-so-subtle parody, this time of My Super Sweet 16, involving an incredibly bratty teenager named Chloe (Maddie Hasson) who berates her parents for buying her a Lexus instead of a Cadillac. Frank finally snaps, and goes to the girl’s school and murders her. Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr) sees all of this, and finds she has much of the same ideas as Frank. She and Frank decide to go on a rampage, killing all the people who make modern culture the terrible mess that it is.
Where God Bless America succeeds is rooted in it’s comedy. Be warned, however, this is some very dark comedy. It does not pull it’s punches and shows people brutally murdering others and plays it for laughs. But somehow, that’s what makes it great. It’s actually funny. It’s not the most laugh out loud movie of 2012, and it’s not as broad as other comedies of this year, like 21 Jump Street or Ted, but the humour is very deadpan, and if anything, that’s more effective. The comedy very much comes from it’s satire of culture in general, being straight and forthright with the audience about how this the world we live in, and makes you root for the characters killing these horrible, horrible people.
God Bless America‘s characters are extremely well-written and performed. Joel Murray is perfect as Frank, but the real star is Tara Lynne Barr. She is so charismatic and likeable, while at the same time being absolutely insane. I mean, this girl has some serious issues. She hates society and what’s it’s become even down to little things like, ‘let’s kill people who give high fives’ (well, I’m dead). The pacing of the film is where it starts to flicker in it’s quality, as the last half of the second act and first half of the third really do tend to drag. The finale is worth it though, being sad and depressing in a manner not seen in many films like this.
God Bless America’s biting satire, brilliant performances, and very funny humour make God Bless America a success all the way through. It is a shame it didn’t get a major cinema release, only going straight to DVD an Blu-Ray and playing in indie cinemas. This is a film you really should seek out, though keep in mind, it certainly is not for everyone, as you will probably be shocked and disturbed, but that’s the fun of it. It’s dark, but it’s just the right kind of dark. If you have ever found yourself frustrated with today’s modern celebrity, TV, and gossip fuelled culture, you will probably like this film.
And just remember, there is nothing more pleasurable than seeing the Westboro Baptist Church all shot and then thrown in a canyon.