Bruce Almighty Review

by Shannon Patrick Sullivan (shannon AT morgan DOT ucs DOT mun DOT ca)
May 27th, 2003

BRUCE ALMIGHTY (2003) / ** 1/2

Directed by Tom Shadyac. Screenplay by Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe and Steve Oedekerk, from a story by Koren and O'Keefe. Starring Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston. Running time: 101 minutes. Rated PG for mild language. Reviewed on May 28th, 2003.

By SHANNON PATRICK SULLIVAN

Synopsis: Television news reporter Bruce Nolan (Carrey) is having the worst day of his life: he's lost his job, he's been beat up, his car has been vandalised, and his relationship with his girlfriend Grace (Aniston) is on the rocks. Blaming God for his troubles, Bruce finds himself invited into the presence of the Almighty (Freeman), who gives Bruce his powers while he takes a vacation. Will omnipotence be the solution to Bruce's problems?

Review: "Bruce Almighty" marks Jim Carrey's return to out-and-out comedy after a three-year hiatus. Fans anticipating a return to the inspired lunacy of "Ace Ventura", however, may be disappointed: although "Bruce Almighty" doesn't quite venture into the same sanitised depths as the banal "Liar Liar", this is nonetheless a tamer, more accessible Jim Carrey, who reminds us of his zanier roles only in all-too-brief flashes. At least in part, I imagine this is a response to the subject matter: I'm a little surprised that a movie in which Jim Carrey takes over as the Supreme Being hasn't stirred at least come controversy amongst religious conservatives. But in truth, "Bruce Almighty" is as inoffensive a film as one could envision. Bruce doesn't come across as God so much as a guy with a couple of spiffy magic powers. And really, that's where "Bruce Almighty" goes wrong -- with such a fantastic premise, one which could be taken in any one of a hundred directions, the filmmakers have opted for the safest route possible. Sure, this still provides some laughs -- the sequences involving Bruce's dog are particularly funny -- but the lasting impression I had was that Bruce was just about the most unimaginative deity ever. And so while "Bruce Almighty" serves adequately as a hundred-minute diversion, it's hardly the, er, religious experience it could have been.

Copyright 2003 Shannon Patrick Sullivan.
Archived at The Popcorn Gallery,
http://www.physics.mun.ca/~sps/movies.html

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