Frank (Murray) is fed up with idiotic people who are obsessed with dehumanising TV shows and pundits who spout vile "news" opinions. And he finally snaps when his estranged daughter (Smith), who lives with his ex-wife (Hamilton), mimics the spoiled-brat behaviour of monster reality-TV teen Chloe (Hasson). In a suicidal rage, he hunts down and kills Chloe. Then a teen witness, Roxy (Barr), talks him into continuing the spree. The problem is that there are too many deserving targets out there.
The film opens with a litany of obnoxious American television and radio, evidence of a toxic society filled with hollow sloganeering and meaningless aspirations. Why does no one realise that laughing at someone who's weak is unhealthy? But the "Oh no you didn't say that!" generation isn't interested in the truth, they just want to see someone humiliated. And Frank can't take it, leading to wish-fulfilment violence against, for example, rude people who callously disrupt an arthouse movie.
Hilariously, Frank and Roxy's victims are so universally hated that no one minds. And their spree sells even more newspapers if made-up enemies like "Obama death squads" can be blamed. Within this exaggerated set-up, the cast give raw, honest performances. As the carnage escalates, the film gets deeper into the issues it raises while pushing the characters into increasingly dark corners. This allows Goldthwait and his cast to explore some enormous issues in what seem like throwaway moments.
The jaggedly intelligent script bristles with humour that's far more truthful and honest than we ever see in American films or TV. Goldthwait plays with and knowingly lays bare the language of pop culture, which makes the film both uncomfortable and seemingly offensive. Most of Frank's speeches are ranting diatribes, but there isn't a single comment that's off the mark. And Roxy has a few pointed gems of her own. But most intriguingly, while Goldthwait's politics apparently lean left, this is a lacerating critique of people who lie, hate and fear-monger, whatever their political ideology.
Run time: 105 mins
In Theaters: Thursday 31st May 2012
Box Office USA: $0.1M
Box Office Worldwide: $122.6 thousand
Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures
Production compaines: Darko Entertainment, Jerkschool Productions
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Fresh: 71 Rotten: 34
IMDB: 7.3 / 10
Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
Producer: Jeff Culotta, Sarah de Sa Rego, Richard Kelly, Sean McKittrick
Screenwriter: Bobcat Goldthwait
Starring: Joel Murray as Frank, Tara Lynne Barr as Roxy, Mackenzie Brooke Smith as Ava, Melinda Page Hamilton as Alison, Rich McDonald as Brad, Maddie Hasson as Chloe, Larry Miller as Chloe's Dad, Dorie Barton as Chloe's Mom, Travis Wester as Ed, Lauren Benz Phillips as Donna, Guerrin Gardner as Tampon-Throwing Tuff Gurl, Kellie Ramdhanie as Melissa Tuff Gurl, Aris Alvarado as Steven Clark, Romeo Brown as John Tyler, Sandra Vergara as American Superstarz Judge, Jamie Harris as American Superstarz Judge, Alexie Gilmore as Morning Show Host, James McAndrew as Morning Show Host, Brendalyn Richard as Karen, Geoff Pierson as Frank's Boss, Tom Kenny as Office Staff, Eliza Coyle as Office Staff, Kill Talley as Office Staff, Joe Liss as Office Staff, Cameron Denny as Office Worker, Danny Geter as Mutual of Onodaga Security Guard, Dan Spencer as Doctor