To sum it up, it’s World’s Greatest Dad if it had the straight cynicism of Bobcat Goldthwait’s more recent directorial effort, God Bless America. Work in some supremely quotable lines (ex. “I don’t patronize bunny rabbits,” “I love my dad gay son,” “Eskimo,” etc.) and what you have is a comedy that is how I don’t like my coffee, blacker than black, shocking you into laughter much like fear sometimes can.
Really, though, the laughter is based in fear, at least partly. Because, besides taking J.D.’s (Slater) less, shall we say, healthy approach, what other choice do you have than to laugh? Society itself is no less twisted than Heathers. Whatever the situation, from the ones seen here all the way to the Aurora shooting, our priorities in dealing with them are a mess. James Holmes shoots up a theater full of unsuspecting victims and receives more exposure than Batman himself, whereas the victims are forgotten in the fray, and the survivors continue to have their lives upturned, this time by media hounds. Similarly, following the deaths in Heathers, believed to be suicides, the not-entirely-undeserving-of-death victims are put on a pedestal while, at the same time, the ones who need that attention, considering suicide themselves, are not just ignored, they’re derided and driven closer to the edge. How does one go about getting society back on the right track? If Heathers has one failing, other than its ending (dragged out, a tad preachy, and unable to tie everything together in a pleasing bow), it’s that it provides no blueprint, no suggestion for fixing the problems it satires. Though, at the end, Veronica appears prepared to do what she can to change things, the viewer has been so inundated with cynicism by that point that it’s impossible to believe it will do any good in the long run. Soon, the status quo will reestablish itself as we saw it do time and time again during the film. But maybe one day, with enough Veronicas on our side, we can do what Veronica couldn’t by herself: counteract the fatal flaws of society.