Bruce Almighty Review

by Homer Yen (homer_yen AT yahoo DOT com)
June 2nd, 2003

"Bruce Almighty" A Comedy that's Alrighty by Homer Yen
(c) 2003

Well, it's certainly good to see Jim Carrey back on the big screen doing the kinds of things that have made him so amiable and downright hilarious. This funnyman seemed to lose a bit of momentum as he experimented with weightier types of roles. The results of his efforts were mixed in the eyes of critics, but generally ignored by the moviegoing masses. After all, how many of you actually paid to see "Man on the Moon" or the "The Majestic"? Although he does possess acting skills beyond his talent for physical comedy and rubbery contortions, films like the very funny "Liar Liar" endeared most of us to him. We prefer to see him in a broader comedy where he can just do his thing. This is just what he needs. And, while "Bruce Almighty" may not be quite as good as "Liar Liar," it does come close.
In this film, Carrey plays television reporter Bruce Nolan. He feels that a series of unfortunate events have brought his life on the verge of ruin. A particularly funny segment occurs while doing a live report. He is told that a promotion was given to one of his rivals and then proceeds to go ballistic. He jumps, screams, and acts obnoxious; however, he directs most of his anger towards God.

While most Gods may seriously consider smiting Bruce, He (played by Morgan Freeman) decides that the best solution is to endow Bruce with all of His powers. God challenges Bruce to do a better job. Maybe he'll learn something about himself. Voila! Bruce is now almighty.

Now, let's remember that this is just a broad comedy, so you'll have to try to put aside all of the theological mumbo jumbo as well as the cascading ramifications that occur when Bruce decides to exercise his powers. Admittedly, that's a bit difficult. At first, he does little self-serving things like cause gusts of wind to blow up skirts of pretty girls, avenge a previous encounter with a bunch of street thugs, or increase the bust size of his loyal girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston). But then you feel that there should be more contemplation and follow-up given the other acts such as when Bruce clears the highway to bypass rush hour or pulls the moon closer to enhance a romantic interlude at the expense of monsoons half a world away.

I think that the film would have been a little less overreaching if Bruce had found a magic lamp with a genie in it that granted him three wishes. Yes, that's it! He could play Major Tony Nelson in a film version of "I Dream of Jeannie". Playing God creates way too many questions. And, while the focus is on the comedy and while there are some very funny scenes, the entire God issue seems a bit distracting.

I also felt that the inclusion of Morgan Freeman and Jennifer Aniston was somewhat unnecessary. I believe that with Carrey's recent lukewarm success, their inclusion was to expand the demographic appeal of this offering. For example, Aniston is relegated to a very limited role as the hopeful girlfriend. Freeman's role is relatively hands-off, and only gets involved to add some light-hearted banter. Bruce does eventually learn one important lesson. When you are God, you can't think only about yourself. However, to really be the Jim Carrey that we want him to be, he probably can and should.

Grade: B-

S: 1 out of 3
L: 2 out of 3
V: 1 out of 3

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