The only real response to a thuddingly unfunny vigilante satire like "May I Kill U" is, "Well, I hope that filmmaker got something out of his system."
Writer-director Stuart Urban's movie introduces us to bicycle cop Baz (Kevin Bishop), who doesn't have the best response to getting hit on the head by looters during 2011 riots in London: He quickly decides to start murdering transgressors, filming his deeds with his helmet-cam, then uploading the footage so he can become a death-wish social media darling.
Though clearly aimed at the disconnect between actual violence and the hollow rah-rah spurred by an impersonal Internet, a movie like this only works if real laughs fight their way through the tackiness.
But in this case, witlessness and bluntness reign, and Bishop has to be the most recessive and charmless psycho in recent memory. Plus, it's unclear what the point of view is: Rein in the police? Shut down Twitter? Do a better job screening police recruits?
It also must be noted that Frances Barber does her best to make the most violent thing in the movie her rafter-rattling performance as Baz's unrepentantly ugly, alcoholic live-in mom. When she's on screen, it's tastelessness you can definitely taste.
'May I Kill U?'
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes.
Playing: At Arena Cinema, Hollywood.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times