Bruce Almighty Review

by Susan Granger (ssg722 AT aol DOT com)
May 27th, 2003

Susan Granger's review of "Bruce Almighty" (Universal Pictures)
    What an appealing concept: an ordinary guy becomes God, blessed with the powers of the Almighty. Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a shallow, self-centered TV news reporter in Buffalo, New York, who yearns to be Walter Cronkite. But because he's wacky and amusing, Nolan's assigned lighter, human-interest stories and passed over for the anchorman position. Yet his life's pretty darn good. He's got a devoted, live-in girl-friend (Jennifer Aniston) and a not-quite-house-broken dog. But he's angry that God has never answered his prayers. In fact, he's so frustrated and furious that his temper tantrum takes him to an audience with God (Morgan Freeman), who good-naturedly challenges him to do a better job. Predictably, Nolan's initial reaction to omnipotence is selfish - a new Ferrari, exclusive news scoops, etc. - but, eventually, he gets around to making a mess of mankind's infinite problems as his divine intervention goes awry.
    Reminiscent of "Dear God," "It's a Wonderful Life," etc., the whimsical story by Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe & Steve Oedekerk is sappy and melodramatic. But Jim Carrey's blessed with such incredible comedic talent and precise comedic timing that he elevates the mediocre material. Morgan Freeman embodies an indulgent, dignified deity with infinite patience and a sharp sense of humor. Director Tom Shadyac ("Liar, Liar") makes the most of several hilarious scenes, particularly when a rival newsman (Steve Carell) spouts gibberish on-air. And there's a poignant message when Nolan wails, "How do you make someone love you if you can't affect free will?" To which the Lord replies, "Welcome to my world, son." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Bruce Almighty" is a simplistic, spiritual 7, promoting the power of faith.

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