Bruce Almighty is the kind of movie that Jim Carrey should stick to. After a few atrocious bombs (The Majestic, Man on the Moon), Carrey has returned to his roots, which are rubber-faced expressions and weird voices.
In the film, Carrey plays Bruce Nolan, a newscaster who is hoping to hit the bigtime. The station has him mainly doing time-filling, unimportant reporting. His archenemy at the station is Evan Baxter (Steven Carell), who always seems to find a way to steal his thunder. When Bruce’s big chance at a live report at Niagara Falls fails because of Evan, Bruce flies off the handle and loses his job. Things get worse when he angers his girlfriend, Grace (Jennifer Aniston), leaves him after an argument. With nowhere else to turn, Bruce blames God for his misfortunes.
God (Morgan Freeman) answers his pleas. To show Bruce how difficult it is to please everyone, God gives him his powers for 24 hours.
Carrey does get to run wild with a lot of this film, and rightfully so. There are some great laughs in this film, particularly the scene early on when Bruce is reporting from Niagara Falls. This is vintage Jim Carrey, and the funniest scene in the film in my opinion. Laughs also ensure when Bruce acquires God’s powers, but I will not reveal any of the major laughs (even though the trailer did a good job of doing so).
The film loses its steam a bit at the end of the second and the third acts. The comedy begins to get a bit thin, almost as if the writers were getting a bit desperate by the third act. There are also attempts to try and turn the film serious on us, but hey, at least it does not end with a court scene or something similarly predictable.
Carrey’s films, at least his comedies, have always had the appeal that they are essentially meaningless. You go to the theater, get lost in his world for 90 minutes, and go home. He rarely goes for significance, but this is where Bruce Almighty mixes things up a bit. Here we have Carrey in a comedy about the touchy subject of religion. I was fully expecting to see protests on TV by now, but the film handles it so tastefully that it is hard to get too fired up, regardless of your religious preference.
When all is said and done, Carrey has made a smart career move to get back to the basics. He turns in a great performance here, as does the supporting cast. This is harmless fun, and I recommend it.
Studio: Universal Pictures
Length: 101 Minutes
Rating: PG-13 for language, sexual content, and some crude humor.
Theatrical Release: May 23, 2003
Directed by: Tom Shadyac
Written by: Steve Koren & Mark O’Keefe & Steve Oedekerk.
Cast: Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston, Philip Baker Hall, Catherine Bell, Lisa Ann Walker