2003 - PG-13 - 101 Mins.
|Director: Tom Shadyac
|Producer: Tom Shadyac
|Written By: Steve Koren & Mark O'Keefe
|Starring: Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston, Nora Dunne
|Review by: John Ulmer
"Bruce Almighty" is a lot like Jim Carrey's other projects. Which isn't to say it isn't funny, but it is quite recycled and doesn't pun some of the things it could and should have. Now don't get me wrong, it is anything but boring, and anything but unfunny...but it is a lot like his other projects. A funny down-on-his-luck loser ("Dumb and Dumber") gets a supernatural power ("The Mask"), and in the end wins back the girl ("Ace Ventura") and makes a good name for himself ("Me, Myself and Irene").
Watch, this is the part where I talk with my butt--see, isn't that funny? Jen, you're not smiling!
But in the same context, it is more clever and thought-provoking than his other projects.
Jim Carrey plays Bruce, a generally happy, soon-to-be-married man who desperately wants to be a news reporter. Unfortunately, he ends up being fired from his job, and when this happens, he curses God. The next day his pager beeps, and Bruce calls up the number. He is given instructions on where to drive to. He follows them and ends up finding God's temporary headquarters.
God is a black man (Morgan Freeman) surprisingly enough. I like Morgan Freeman, so I won't get into the racial technicalities. Anyway, God gives Bruce his powers for one week to see how well he can handle being the master of the earth, and immediately afterwards Bruce finds he has more than odd capabilities.
However, much is the case with most things, Bruce finds his world also shaken by his newfound powers. He has to answer prayers, for one thing, and his relationship with Grace (Jennifer Aniston) starts to suffer due to his ever-growing greed. In the end, Bruce starts to realize it's not so easy being God.
"Bruce Almighty" is a very engaging, sweet, and harmless film, but like I said before, it is so much like Jim Carrey's other films that he seems to be making an Adam Sandler mould out of his career. One of the things I liked so much about "Groundhog Day" was how it showed what your average Joe would do given the power to repeat one day over and over and over again. "Bruce Almighty" has a very interesting and original plot, something uncommon for a comedy these days, but it unfortunately doesn't show Bruce using his newfound powers as much as he could have.
But regardless, the scenes where Bruce is experimenting not only entertain you, but actually make the time fly by. I really enjoyed this movie. It isn't exactly as great as it could have been, but I don't think that was the intention. Learning from their mistakes on "The Majestic," Jim Carrey (and "Bruce Almighty's" filmmakers) achieved their goal of making a thoroughly entertaining, if somewhat repetitive film that doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't: A Jim Carrey movie. Yes, they could have made something more interesting, dramatic, serious and hilarious, but I don't think that's what the Jim Carrey audiences want, and I think that the filmmakers are smart, in a way, for paying attention to this.