Bruce Almighty Reviewby Rose 'Bams' Cooper (bams AT 3blackchicks DOT com)
May 27th, 2003
BRUCE ALMIGHTY (2003)
Rated PG-13; running time 100 minutes
Seen at: Eastwood Neighborhood Cinema Group (Lansing, Michigan) Official site: http://www.brucealmighty.com/
IMDB site: http://us.imdb.com/Details?0315327
Written by: Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe, Steve Oedekerk
Directed by: Tom Shadyac
Cast: Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston, Steven Carell, Philip Baker Hall, Catherine Bell
Review Copyright Rose Cooper, 2003
I've often said that God has a sense of humor. Hmm...I wonder if The Big G chuckles at Popcorn Flicks like this one.
THE STORY (WARNING: **spoilers contained below**)
Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) has Issues; he's sure that Somebody up there hates him. Sure, he has a decent job as a TV "human interest" reporter. But he covets the more prestigious anchorman spot, a spot for which news director Jack Keller (Philip Baker Hall) pits Bruce against rival Evan Baxter (Steven Carell). Though Bruce has the love of his girlfriend Grace (Jennifer Aniston), he's also attracted to anchorwoman Susan Ortega (Catherine Bell), who barely knows he exists. And he can't even convince his dog not to rain on his parade.
Pissed off at being pissed on, Bruce calls out The Big Guy, saying that He's doing a lousy job and that Bruce could do it way better. Much to Bruce's surprise, God (Morgan Freeman. I loved typing that) gives him the chance: He'll give Bruce His powers temporarily, to see if Bruce can do the job any more effectively. Bruce, apparently, hasn't heard of the old maxim, "be careful what you wish for..."
I often read reviews slamming Robin Williams when he's going at full-out comic speed. I like Williams' humor myself, and can dig him in comedies and dramas alike. No, for me, the Antic Comic who usually makes my teeth itch is Jim Carrey. Usually, if I hear "Jim Carrey" and "comedy" in the same sentence, I run the other way. Would've this time, too, if it weren't for the strong draw of Morgan Freeman. The combination seems to have paid off.
There's nothing at all Heavy, or overly wack, in this flick; no animals were humiliated in the making of this film (um), and certainly, no brain cells were strained. It never pretended to be Deep, and therefore, didn't disappoint. It was, however, funny as all get-up, especially since Carrey was (relatively) restrained. I haven't liked him this much since LIAR LIAR and THE TRUMAN SHOW (though I was apparently The Only One to have liked THE MAJESTIC). And ok, so he went ahead and showed his ass once; but it was to be expected.
As was Morgan Freeman's strong, funny performance. Even in the only flick I've ever seen him in that I've disliked - NURSE BETTY - Freeman was solid as a rock. And come on; could there ever be any doubt of his deity? Less strong was Jennifer Aniston, fairly wasted in a run-of-the-mill Put-Upon Girlfriend role. After her wonderful, eye-opening turn in THE GOOD GIRL, her flat, nothing role here was a disappointment (though I blame that more on the writers than anything Aniston specifically did). But saving the day was the hilarious Carrey psuedo-pantomime by Steven Carell as sycophant anchorman Evan Baxter. If there had to be some over-the-top Carreyisms in this movie, better him than Jim.
If there was a let down, it's how director Tom Shadyac and his team handled the whole concept of a flawed human as God-for-a-week. [I quote this next godawful flick way too much, but the shoe fits, so...] In STAR TREK V, Spock once wondered, "What would God need with a starship?". Well, maybe God wouldn't need one, but if on the other hand, man-as-God had His powers, wouldn't the new He just go apeshit? Hey, yours truly would - which is why the lame "miracles" (or as God said, parlor tricks) Bruce performed, just fell flat. Really, though I accept this as little more than a funny Popcorn Flick, it would've been nice to see something more made of that aspect. Granted, Jim Carrey isn't known for his ability to handle Big Themes, but still.
But still; you could do much worse on your weekend than to catch BRUCE ALMIGHTY at least once. A caution to those who tend to leave the theater early: there are some fairly funny outtakes you'll miss if you do. And please, for the love of Morgan, can someone tell whomever is in charge of making movie trailers, to *stop* putting all of the good stuff in them?!?
BAMMER'S BOTTOM LINE
Almighty? Nah, that'd be a miracle. But it *was* funny...even if Carrey couldn't help showing his ass.
BRUCE ALMIGHTY rating: greenlight
Rose "Bams" Cooper
Webchick and Editor,
Entertainment Reviews With Flava!
Copyright Rose Cooper, 2003
EMAIL: [email protected]
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