Tom Shadyac (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Liar Liar) directs this religious comedy about a guy who criticizes God and gets all His powers for a week to see if he can do a better job. Jim Carrey is Bruce Nolan, a TV reporter who thinks he is better than he is. He doesn’t get a promotion and he has a hissy fit and he ends up with godlike powers that he uses for selfish reasons before learning not to be selfish and losing his godlike powers. People in Hollywood do a lot of drugs.
Bruce Nolan is a reporter who hopes to be an anchorman, but nobody takes him seriously because he does human-interest stories and flails about like Jim Carrey. He lives with his girlfriend Grace (Jennifer Aniston) and has a pretty decent life but he doesn’t seem to realize it and he complains all the time. His co-worker Evan (Steve Carell) gets promoted to anchorman and Bruce has a little breakdown and challenges God.
God arranges a meeting between the two of them, and Bruce meets God face to face. God looks a lot like Morgan Freeman. God gives Bruce his powers for one week. The only rules are that he can’t tell anyone that he’s God and he can’t interfere with free will.
Bruce uses his powers to get revenge on people who wronged him, to get laid, to get promoted, to get famous… he pretty much abuses his powers in every way possible. He becomes aware that he can hear people praying and asking for help. He starts to help them out but then he decides it’s easier to just say yes to their prayers rather than paying attention to what they are wishing.
Bruce’s actions have consequences. And he’s God, so his actions have really big consequences. Bad things start to happen, both in Bruce’s personal life and with the rest of the world. Grace leaves Bruce and Bruce tries to get her back, but he can’t interfere with free will, so his attempts to get her back don’t work.
Bruce eventually realizes that being God is kind of hard and maybe he shouldn’t be so critical. And wouldn’t you know it, but he gets a second chance with Grace. So you can do everything wrong and fuck up the world and still get a second chance at happiness because you deserve it, damn it.
This movie is funny and it made a lot of money, but it’s not one of Jim Carrey’s better movies. Religious comedies are a weird genre of cinema, but Life of Brian is the best one. Bruce Almighty is too family friendly to be funny.
They made a shitty sequel with Steve Carell’s character called Evan Almighty. I’m surprised they haven’t made a shittier sequel with Morgan Freeman’s character called God Almighty.
This movie has some good scenes, but Bruce isn’t a likeable main character. Grace should have left him. He is an asshole. He becomes totally powerful and uses that power to instinctively help himself. He is a selfish motherfucker and Evan deserved the raise over Bruce from the start.
If an ordinary guy became God, no doubt crazy shit would happen. And some weird stuff does happen in this movie, but they could have done a lot more. There are infinite ideas to explore and it seems like they were holding themselves back to be more of a kid’s movie. Tom Shadyac used to make movies where Jim Carrey talked out of his butthole… they definitely lost some edge.
Critically Rated at 9/17