Bruce Almighty

"Good"

Bruce Almighty Review


Jim Carrey may be unconvincing as a TV newsman in "Bruce Almighty" -- he wears khakis and plaid shirts on the air, he needs a haircut, and he hold his microphone as if he doesn't know which end is up -- but as an everyday joe temporarily granted all the powers of God, his return to crackpot comedy is a most welcome summer movie treat.

After some angry finger-waving toward heaven over a fairly minor bout of bad luck (he's been passed over for an anchor job, he crashes his car into a lamp post and he can't seem to housebreak his dog), Bruce Nolan (Carrey) becomes God for a spell when the Big Guy (Morgan Freeman having a little fun with his noble image) gets fed up listening to him whine. God decides to show Bruce how tough the job of the Almighty really is, and humorous havoc ensues.

Of course, at first Bruce just has a ball being omnipotent. He grins impishly to himself as his live-in girlfriend Grace (Jennifer Aniston) says over breakfast, "I woke up this morning and I swear my boobs were bigger." When he comes across some muggers who beat him up the day before and demands an apology (in the most Biblical language he can muster), the leader of the gang says "You'll get your 'sorry' the day a monkey comes out of my butt."

"What a coincidence," replies Bruce...

He also uses his powers to get ahead at work (giving a backstabbing anchor a squeak-toy voice) and to romance Grace (he erases the clouds and pulls the Moon closer to the Earth to enhance a night of amour).

But then come the thousands of voices in his head -- prayers he magically organizes as emails and automates his system to reply "yes!" to all. And soon he learns there are consequences to his actions (tidal waves flood Japan because of "unusual lunar activity," 11,000 lottery winners get only $17 each from the jackpot).

The overall story arc of "Bruce Almighty" is predictable -- Bruce has a lesson to learn, after all. But the writing (by Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe and Steve Oederkerk) is wickedly witty ("It was nice to meet you," says Bruce when freaked out by coming face-to-face with God. "Thank you for the Grand Canyon. Good luck with the Apocalypse. I gotta go.") and the film hits home runs with both highbrow and lowbrow gags.

Just as importantly, Carrey's performance strikes a similar, well-conceived balance. He's not an all-zany-all-the-time, "Ace Ventura" kind of guy. He's a believably regular guy prone to sidesplitting fits of Carrey-esque berserkness.

In fact, "Bruce Almighty" is one of Carrey's funniest and smartest movies -- right up to the point when the screenwriters and director Tom Shadyac ("Ace Ventura," "Liar Liar," "Patch Adams") reel in the clever comedy and roll out the stock plot conflicts (Grace walks in on Bruce being kissed by a sexpot anchorwoman and now he must win her back!) and the cloying, heavy-handed moral-of-the-story messages.

People don't realize "they have the power," says God, "to be their own miracles."

Oh, brother. What happened to the laughs?

Carrey can't carry this cheaply sentimental stuff (and he shouldn't have to), so as a result the movie almost crashes and burns in its last reel. (Closing-credit outtakes to the rescue!) But even blinded by mawkishness, Shaydac manages to land this plane on one engine with the help of his great cast.

Before he's called on to get gushy, Carrey finds a hilarious but entirely human happy medium between his wacko side and his Everyman appeal. Flexing the talent she proved she has in last year's indie hit "The Good Girl," Aniston is quietly brilliant without doing any scene stealing. Her character has so much depth and resolve that you root for Grace when she leaves Bruce after the co-anchor kiss, because she brought such an emotionally true, genuine-couple dynamic to their relationship. And Freeman is wry yet fervent and humble yet commanding in his performance as the stern but serene and self-amused God.

These three make it easy to forgive "Bruce Almighty" its shortcomings (especially since Aniston helps the film to find its true heart at the very last minute) -- even if it's hard to forgive the writers for running out of droll, dry ink and filling their quills with sap as they wrote the picture's last chapter.



Bruce Almighty

Facts and Figures

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd May 2003

Box Office USA: $242.6M

Box Office Worldwide: $484.6M

Budget: $80M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Pit Bull Productions, Spyglass Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Shady Acres Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 48%
Fresh: 89 Rotten: 95

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Bruce Nolan, as Grace Connelly, as Jack Baylor, as Susan Ortega, as Debbie, as Evan Baxter, as Ally Loman, Paul Satterfield as Dallas Coleman, as God, as Bobby

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Free State of Jones Movie Review

Free State of Jones Movie Review

Since its true story is still so timely after some 150 years, we can forgive...

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

This reunion of actor Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg feels like a natural successor...

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review

Ransom Riggs' bestselling novel is appropriately adapted into a movie by Tim Burton, the gothic...

Get Back Movie Review

Get Back Movie Review

Roger Appleton's documentary 'Get Back' looks into the music scene that come out of Liverpool....

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Advertisement
Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.