Review By Ash Verjee
Anyone who has seen Bobcat Goldthwait’s 2006 film Sleeping Dogs Lie, a slight but thoughtful piece about the viability of honesty as relationship foundation-laying will have observed his particular skill in eliciting poignant rumination from initially overdone premises. In Dogs, the lead character must deal with the fallout from the revelation that once, at college, she fellated her dog.
In God Bless America, our mismatched protagonists set off on a fanciful Bonnie and Clyde-style spree, mowing down the irksome and irritating, but like Dogs, is as strangely compelling. Desperately tired of the inane superficiality of contemporary American tween-culture, and recently diagnosed with an inoperable tumour, Frank (Murray) takes to the road with Hit-Girl-moulded Roxy, a couple of firearms, and proceed to traverse the states, dispatching Republican politicians, Westboro Baptist preachers and cinema punters who use their mobile phones during the feature en route.
It’s difficult to say whether Goldthwait’s film is telling us anything we don’t already know; that Americans’ brains are gradually turning to mush due to the constant force-feeding of consumerism and dodgy politics. It’s like a brilliant three-minute Bill Hicks routine (“Go back to bed, America, here is American Gladiators, here is 56 channels of it! Watch these pituitary retards bang their fucking skulls together and congratulate you on the living in the land of freedom!”) but stretched out to ninety minutes.
That said, it’s also a blast, not always, but often mis-directing us with a witty, honest script; in one sequence, just when you feel Roxy’s becoming a bit Juno, she suggests Diablo Cody as a possible target – “The only stripper who suffers from too much self-esteem.” Given the amount of physical ground the pair cover, it’s unsatisfying to see them given such a static finale, but maybe asking much more of this film is asking too much. God Bless America is just a ride, and as such, it’s just fine as it is.