BY DAYNA PAPALEO
“God Bless America”
(R), written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait
Screens Saturday & Sunday at the Dryden
Making a vigilante flick is a difficult proposition; you’ve got to make an airtight case for your protagonist’s illegal actions in order to get the audience on board. But despite an intriguing premise as well as a pitch-perfect turn by star Joel Murray, writer-director Bobcat Goldthwait fails to properly justify the killing spree anti-hero Frank embarks on in the bleak satire “God Bless America.” Frank has just lost his job and been diagnosed with a terminal illness, so in the face of an onslaught of disturbing human behavior in the form of reality television and right-wing opinion, Frank decides that the mean people need to die.
It’s shades of “Taxi Driver” and “Bonnie and Clyde” as Frank finds himself saddled with bored and precocious teen Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr) while he drives around the country murdering the not-nice, which includes an entitled TV brat and those affiliated with an “American Idol” type of show. (The even-less-tolerant Roxy wants to also go gunning for people who high-five and “Juno” screenwriter Diablo Cody.) “God Bless America” feels like a bitter stand-up rant against easy, deserving targets stretched uncomfortably into a narrative feature; it’s difficult to argue with Goldthwait’s stance — America has gotten ugly, and too many are making money off of it — but the film’s exaggerated reaction doesn’t add anything new to the discussion.