Pictures presents a film directed by Tom Shadyac. Written
by Steve Oedekerk, Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe. Running
time: 101 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for language, sexual content
and some crude humor).
Carrey, Jennifer Aniston, Morgan Freeman.
the filmmakers responsible for Bruce Almighty had made
a movie that lived up to the great premise, they could have
had a real hit on their hands. As it stands, however, Bruce
Almighty is a movie that ranges from hilarious to infuriating
and everywhere in between. When you add it all up, that does
not equal quality filmmaking. It equals nothing more than
a mildly entertaining diversion.
we should just be thankful that Bruce Almighty is better
than director Tom Shadyac's last effort, the nearly unwatchable
Patch Adams. Unfortunately, Bruce Almighty,
while starting off strong, eventually falls directly into
Patch Adams territory. The last twenty minutes or so
are so laughably sentimental that you would be better off
just leaving the theater and making up your own ending. Looking
at the rest of Shadyac's filmography, I don't think that it
is unreasonable to request that he never directs another movie.
Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a local news reporter stuck with all
the joke stories. When, on one particularly terrible day,
Bruce is fired, gets beaten up, crashes his car, and gets
into a fight with his live-at-home girlfriend, Grace (Jennifer
Aniston), Bruce unleashes a tirade against God (a very cool
Morgan Freeman). Slightly perturbed at Bruce's brashness,
God offers Bruce his powers. Zaniness insues.
after the good setup, it seems like the screenwriters just
stopped trying. Bruce Almighty has some strong comedic
moments (including one very funny scene with Bruce's smug
co-worker, played by a scene-stealing Steve Carell), but the
whole is less than the sum of its parts. Instead of going
into all the promising scenarios made possible by the plot,
Bruce Almighty takes the easy way out with simple (and,
admittedly, occasionally funny) toilet humor.
Carrey is perfect for this type of role. Unfortunately, he
knows it too, and it feels like he's only doing this because
it's expected of him. Jennifer Aniston is given very little
to do, and she never gets to show off the acting talent she
displayed in The Good Girl. Morgan Freeman is the only
actor who does anything with his role - he should be the first
actor turned to when a movie needs an actor for God (although
I still perversly want to see what kind of profane deity Samuel
L. Jackson could put together).
the last thirty minutes been handled differently, I would
be recommending Bruce Almighty. As it is, the finale
is disgustingly saccharine. There is a right way and a wrong
way to handle feel-good endings. Capra knew how to do it right;
for this reason many of his films are regarded as classics.
Tom Shadyac does it embarrasingly badly. Bruce spends his
time working for himself and not helping others. Then, at
the end, he learns a valuble lesson about life and love. Uck...
by this review, my **1/2 star rating may seem a little high.
But Bruce Almighty is far from terrible. In fact, at
points, it's quite good. But the movie as a whole is totally
uneven, and the screenplay passes up some completely obvious
oppurtunities. For the summer, this movie may serve as an
enjoyable respite from the heat. But Bruce Almighty
is nothing more than a movie that could have been great, but
ended up as just average.
2003 Matt Noller