Film Reviews

BRUCE ALMIGHTY

By • May 23rd, 2003 •

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Universal Pictures

Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a reporter for a local Buffalo TV-news program. He gets all the mediocre, soft stories. He wants to be an anchor and handle the big stories like the war in Iraq and the hunt for Bin Laden. He wants to interview Colin Powell. He’d like to be seen as a serious guy who hero-worships Walter Cronkite. But he’s done nothing to achieve his goals. He’s miserable, though he has the perfect movie girlfriend, an adoring, nursery school teacher named Grace (Jennifer Aniston). When he flips out on live TV and then steps in a puddle, he curses God. He’s had enough! He can do better than God if given the chance. Well, God (Morgan Freeman) decides to give him the opportunity. So, empowered with omnipotence, what does Nolan do?

Here is where the story nosedives. It is obviously clear that Nolan is shallow and self-centered. He certainly doesn’t deserve Godhood, even temporarily. Sure, it’s cute that he miraculously enlarges Grace’s breasts and can part tomato soup with his mind, but after testing out his power to walk on water, don’t you think he should look at the big picture of Powerful Feats and do something fancy? Why think small when you are God?

Nolan is annoyed that people are always praying for stuff so he grants all prayers. So he’s a lazy, careless God. People get mad because so many thousands of them won the lottery. The dollar amount was rendered meaningless. Point well taken: You must be God’s favorite. People are ungrateful. They riot. Nolan does move the Moon to impress Grace, but doesn’t bother to watch TV and see what the dire consequences of that stunt are. He doesn’t heal one sick person. He doesn’t visit one hospital. He does give Grace the orgasm of a lifetime.

But what’s really on my mind? Saddam is homeless. According to international reports, Saddam and a few hundred of his relatives and friends left Baghdad on two cargo planes. I walked through a cargo plane at an outdoor air show once. They have no seats. The U.S. Army uses them to transport tanks. Saddam’s fleet of trucks held so many billions of U.S. dollars and stuff that he had was forced to leave a billion behind. They couldn’t even shove it in.

So where is Saddam and family now? He once had 50 palaces and now he’s staying in someone’s spare bedroom? Does he have to make small talk with his host’s wife? Does he have to make his own bed? Where does one store two cargo planes full of antiquities, cash, and WMD? Somebody’s backyard? Does his host have to cajole friends to take Saddam off his hands for an evening? No, wait. I’m supposed to think that Saddam is on the run lugging around two cargo planes of stuff. Saddam stole billions of oil dollars yet didn’t use a penny of it to pay off tribal leaders to fight for him. He was an absolute dictator for over 30 years who killed on a whim but when it came time to fight, he emptied his palaces and ran off. Does he now have to use an internet hotmail address at a local library?

Is Saddam on the run with fugitive survivalist Eric Rudolph or is he haggling over an expensive presidential pardon like Marc Rich?

Well, now that I’ve said that, why doesn’t Carrey buy up great, tough dramatic scripts to star in? Supposedly, he has the money.

Because Carrey, now 41 years old, is tired of playing the buffoon, BRUCE ALMIGHTY has to turn into something meaningful. It has to get serious. There has to be tears. Aniston and Carrey want to act! Aniston, I don’t care how rich, beautiful, and lucky she is to be the second most famous woman in the Universe, cannot win me over with her weekly salary. The jut of her jaw and pensive gaze limits her movie appeal. Sharing a half hour with 4 other people might be all the public needs. Push all the magazine covers you want down my throat and I still will not accept it as fact that she is one of the most beautiful women on Earth. Carrey, in my humble opinion, has the aggressive body and strong features to play tough characters. He’s got to stop yearning to be the next James Stewart and realize he can be the new Clint Eastwood. He’s got the inner rage seeping through. He’s got the facial structure. I see the cynical, hard backstory to Carrey. Why not embrace it and have that career now?

Yes, Carrey holds the screen and makes an earnest attempt at working the material. You are with him all the way, but Nolan doesn’t have the depth and insight to make BRUCE ALMIGHTY – a very nice high concept – something worth recommending. The direction by Tom Shadyac is sluggish. Everybody just got bored and it shows. Sadly, BRUCE ALMIGHTY is simply disappointing.


Cast:
Bruce Nolan: Jim Carrey
Grace: Jennifer Aniston
God: Morgan Freeman

Credits:
Director: Tom Shadyac
Producers: Michael Bostick, James D. Brubaker, Jim Carrey,
Steve Koren, Mark O’Keefe, Tom Shadyac
Screenplay: Steve Koren & Mark O’Keefe and Steve Oedekerk
Cinematography: Dean Semler
Music: John Debney

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