BUY FROM AMAZON: CLICK HERE!
STUDIO: Magnolia Home Entertainment
RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes
- Commentary with Bobcat Goldthwait, Joel Murray and Tara Lynne Barr
- Behind the Scenes: Killing with Kindness
- Deleted / Extended Scenes
- Interviews with Bobcat Goldthwait, Joel Murray and Tara Lynne Barr
- HDNET: A Look at God Bless America
- Roxy & Frank Music Video
- Theatrical Trailer
I’ve got a movie here that stars that Murray guy from Scrooged. He plays a disenfranchised American who, while traveling, meets a girl who changes his outlook on . Hey, it worked before, right?
Joel Murray, Tara Lynne Barr, Mackenzie Brooke Smith, Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
Alone in life, unemployed and terminally ill, Frank (Joel Murray) decides to end it all. In his final seconds, however, he rediscovers that life is beautiful.
Just kidding. He decides that before he dies, he needs to stalk and kill Chloe, the monstrous, spoiled-rich teenage star of the odious reality show he can’t escape while channel-flipping. Been there.
On his quest, he meets a… platonic(?)… soulmate in Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), a fast talking tweener who is much more bloodthirsty than her prairie-bangs would have you presume. They tour the country violently dispatching anyone who annoys them.
Do not try this at home. Especially the movie theater scene.
I’m going to start with the bad news: this is a step backward from the well-balanced black humor and surprising poignance of Goldthwait’s World’s Greatest Dad. This is partially due to the fact that the original script began as a Christmas gift for Bob Goldthwait’s family, and unfortunately it still feels mostly like a cathartic revenge fantasy. Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with cathartic revenge fantasies, unless my parole officer happens to be reading this.
Now some good news: Joel Murray and Tara Lynne Barr are quite good in this. Murray channels some, but not all of his much-more-famous brother’s sad-sack disenchantment. His best moments are not the (occasionally overlong) rants he’s asked to recite, but the moments in which he seems more disappointed than angry. He just expected so much more of people in general, and it shows in his face and posture.
Tara Lynne Barr, given a mix of both interesting and… well… not interesting monologues definitely delivers a performance worth noticing. Some will find her annoying, but in a movie this broad, I thought she found the right hypercaffeinated note to hit. However, just as with Frank, her best moments are the vulnerable ones, and the ones in which you wonder how deeply her sociopathy goes compared to Frank’s.
Goldthwait manages to convey an almost romantic yet not quite salacious relationship between the two leads without ever giving you a case of the icks (I’m looking at you, Leon, also known by your American title: Who The Fuck Okayed This Dress-up Scene!? ) It’s funny how a relationship built around mass murder only starts feeling inappropriate when it seems like the leads care a little too much for each other.
The cinematography is mostly great, ranging from the highs of an occasional Wes Andersonesque establishing shot (a Kinks song doesn’t hurt) to some rather flat and stagey moments that are more common in a movie in this budget range. The finale, set in an auditorium where a supposedly insanely popular reality show is being filmed, suffers quite a bit from the financial constraints. To jazz it up, some sequences seem color-graded within an inch of their life, a dangerous prospect in a movie featuring a yellow camaro.
There are some funny scenes and clever bits of dialogue, though not as many as the filmmakers think. When it operates more quietly, and capitalizes off of the fuller range of its leads, the movies has some charm. But taken as a whole, it feels a bit simple and self-indulgent.
To inform your decision to watch or not, consider the following: as a murderous road trip movie, this is much smarter than Natural Born Killers, but much dumber than Bonnie and Clyde. And it probably contains more uses of the noun Fuck Pie than any version of The Incredible Journey.
This is a case in which special features elevate the feature to something slightly more interesting as opposed to being padded on as an afterthought. Though a few bits are redundant, Goldthwait and Murray in particular have a lot of interesting things to say about their processes and themes behind the film. Tara Lynne Barr is present but has much less to say… probably because she’s 14 and her last gig prior to this involved the Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars