DVD Review: God Bless America

STUDIO: Magnolia | DIRECTOR: Bobcat Goldthwait | CAST: Jole Murray, Tara Lynne Barr, Larry Miller, Melinda Page Hamilton
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 7/3/2012 | PRICE: DVD $26.98, Blu-ray $29.98
BONUSES: commentary, deleted scenes, outtakes, featurette, more
SPECS: R | 103 min. | Crime comedy | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

 

With his dark crime comedy God Bless America, comedian-turned-filmmaker Bobcat Goldthwait is up to his old politically incorrect tricks again following World’s Greatest Dad (concerning a father trying to cash in on his son’s death) and Sleeping Dogs Lie (about a woman confessing a disturbing secret to her husband-to-be).

God Bless America movie scene

Joel Murray and Tara Lynne Barr go for their guns on a reality TV show in God Bless America.

This time the subject is far-ranging: popular culture and the media. Joel Murray (The Artist) is the middle-aged, ill and recently-fired-from-his-job Frank, who joins forces with distraught teenage girl Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr, TV’s Zoey 101) to rid the world of annoying people. Their mission takes them on a cross-country trip to Los Angeles where they encounter all sorts of irritating folks—people chattering in a movie theater, folks who take up more than one parking spots, right-wing news analysts and, finally, the people involved in an  American Idol-like music competition show. They all find themselves in Frank and Roxy’s cross-hairs…

Those who agree politically with Goldthwait’s angrily liberal politics will appreciate God Bless America more than viewers on the opposite side of the fence. But despite the filmmaker’s best intentions—to take a broad satirical swipe at things he believes are bringing down the country—his targets are sometimes too obvious, the film goes on too long and he brings little style to the proceedings. Thankfully, Goldthwaite gets nice performances from Murray (younger brother of Bill) and young Tara Lynne Barr, who inject pathos, sensitivity and (non-sexual) chemistry into their roles.

A solid line-up of bonus features includes a lively commentary by Goldthwait and his two stars, an extensive making-of featurette and deleted sequences highlighted by a couple of  additional fictional television shows, including a funny one revolving around babies entitled “Jersey Shorties.”

 

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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.