Bruce Almighty (2003)
Whether or not a person believes in God, most people have thought they could make things better if they ran the world. Some would end world hunger, some would make world peace, and other would just fix the problems in their own lives. But few people would ever consider the burden and awesome responsibility of the universe's most absolute power. How would prayers be answered? How would you handle disasters and riots? What would you do if someone did not believe in you? `Bruce Almighty' presents a view of what would happen if a man's will were done. Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a field reporter for the local Buffalo, NY news station. Tired of doing human-interest stories, being passed over for promotions, and the overall course his life has taken, he calls out God (Morgan Freeman) and claims he can make things better if he ran the world. God hears Bruce's challenge and offers him the chance to prove it. The Almighty departs for a vacation and endows Bruce with all his powers. Bruce now has the opportunity to demonstrate what kind of God he can be. The only provisions are that Bruce cannot tell anyone he is God and he cannot interfere with anyone's free will. `Bruce Almighty' is wonderfully done by the talents of creative director Tom Shadyac (Liar, Liar, Patch Adams) and the humorous story by screenwriter Steve Koren (Night at the `Roxbury) and television writer Mark O'Keefe (Late Show with David Letterman). Shadyac's direction plays a key role to this visually comedic movie. Not solely relying on his performers, he also implements several sight gags. Shadyac's eye for comedy comes through when he shows how Bruce organizes his prayer requests, how Bruce dispenses justice, and even when Bruce gets a cup of coffee. The script is also well written by the comedic duo of Koren and O'Keefe. The movie is not only funny but it also looks at the seriousness of what it really means to be God. Koren and O'Keefe examine how would an average Joe handle the millions of daily prayer requests, would that person abuse his power, and would he ever give up the job. Don't get me wrong, this is not
a movie to would take your children to see to teach them religion. It is filled with teen and adult humor that fans have come to expect from this genre. Koren and O'Keefe not only manage to keep the theatre laughing but give God a human face. Jim Carrey gives another great performance as Bruce Nolan. Known for his way out antics and facial expressions, Carrey combines those talents with a genuine acting ability that sells his performance. Carrey is very much the common man in his role as Bruce. He is frustrated with the morning traffic, he wants more in life, and he wants God to make it happen. Most audiences can identify with his aggravation because most have been where Bruce has been. But Carrey is also a hilarious man-God when he rules the world. He has fun with his powers while making sure the best things work out for him. Carrey delivers just the right mix of comedy with a touch of the Spirit. Morgan Freeman and Jennifer Aniston are also enjoyable in their roles as God and Bruce's girlfriend, Grace, respectively. Freeman plays God with a humanistic yet sympathetic quality. He not only offers Bruce the chance to take his job, but also is ready to help him out when he runs into trouble or needs advice. Freeman's portrayal is also what one would expect out of God: warm, endearing, and forgiving. Aniston's screen time is somewhat limited in the film. Her performance of Grace is the typical stand-by-your-man girlfriend. She loves Bruce and will stick with him no matter how much of a jerk he can be. The role is generic but Aniston plays well with what she's dealt. Perhaps the scene-stealer of the film is the sidesplitting job done by the Daily Show's Steve Carell. Carell plays Bruce's main antagonist, Evan Baxter. Baxter and Nolan's on-going feud sets the stage for very funny on-air showdown in which Carell's performance will have audiences wiping their eyes from laughter. `Bruce Almighty' is no doubt entertaining and humorous. The movie has all the combinations to make it a success and audiences looking for a good laugh will not be disappointed. While the movie may be more popular with the teen crowd, adults may also enjoy the film as well. This is not a Jim Carrey comedy where he talks from his rear but a comedy that also examines a serious nature of life and show's Carrey has evolved as an actor. But let us hope for Jim's case, God doth have a sense of humor.