God Bless America (Bobcat Goldthwait, 2011)

What's it about? Lonely, disillusioned Frank (Joel Murray) is having a bad day. He gets fired, finds out he has inoperable brain cancer and is increasingly irked by the dumbing down of society, so evident in American pop culture. So he decides some people really do deserve to die.

Is it any good? A blackly funny satire, borrowing elements of Badlands, Falling Down and Natural Born Killers in its depiction of 'ordinary' people on a killing spree. However, whereas those films had several rounds of ammunition in their arsenal, this is more a one-shot affair and hardly stretches itself in simply targeting the vapid reality TV phenomenon. After a strong opening, it's disappointing it doesn't build on the premise to more subversive effect. Although Murray is really very good as the misanthropic Frank, the teenage sidekick character (Tara Lynne Barr) that he reluctantly bonds with never rings true, even allowing for the broadly comic set-up of the plot. It's perfectly watchable and fun while it lasts, with a couple of moments deliberately designed to shock, but it'll fade from memory as soon as you switch channels.

Anything else I should know? Remember this guy from Police Academy films?

That's none other than Bobcat Goldthwait! He might have made the leap to screenwriter and directing, but it really was all downhill from these lofty heights in the 1980s. He's bald as a coot now, so he doesn't need any mousse or hairspray. That's a weak joke there for fans of the Police Academy films, folks, but it's still funnier than anything you'll see in those.

What does the Fonz think? Catch up with it on TV sometime.

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