Movie review: God Bless America

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From the May 24, 2012 edition

In discussing his fictional band’s black-on-black album cover, Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnel asked, “How much more black could this be? The answer is none. None more black.”

Apply that to the black comedy “God Bless America,” Bobcat Goldthwait’s societal satire that will test the limits of what audiences will laugh at.

Frank (Joel Murray) is already fed up with an American culture he sees as increasingly cruel and uncivilized. When he loses his job and then is diagnosed with a brain tumor, Frank reaches his breaking point.

His breaking point has a body count, starting with obnoxious reality TV stars. He soon finds an unlikely partner-in-crime in Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), a typically angsty high-schooler who shares Frank’s disenchantment.

Goldthwait has carved out his niche in offensive comedy with smarts. “America” will offend those who get offended before the opening credits even begin.

You’ll find aspects of “Heathers,” “Network,” “Idiocracy” and a little “Natural Born Killers” here. And when it works, it’s pretty spot-on.

Murray — best known as the alcoholic Freddy on “Mad Men” — is great in the lead, even as the script gets a bit preachy.

It doesn’t quite live up to the premise, which screams “instant cult classic,” but it’s a solid if you like your comedy black.