by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
BLURAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)
Jim Carrey as BRUCE NOLAN
Morgan Freeman as GOD
Jennifer Aniston as GRACE CONNELLY
Philip Baker Hall as JACK BAYLOR
Catherine Bell as SUSAN ORTEGA
Lisa Ann Walter as DEBBIE
Steve Carell as EVAN BAXTER
Directed by: Tom Shadyac
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Roving reporter Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is ticked off at the world – and God – for dealing him a bum hand in life. He can’t break out of his dead-end job, and his in-studio rival has stolen his job as anchor. After openly blaming God, Bruce is visited by the Almighty himself (Morgan Freeman). God say he wants a vacation, so he imbues Bruce with all of his divine powers. But with great powers come great responsibilities, which Bruce is not prepared for.
WHAT I LIKED
To really enjoy a film like “Bruce Almighty,” you need two requirements. First, you can’t be annoyed with Jim Carrey in his wacky comedian shtick. Like any of his screwball comedies, if you’re set off by his on-screen persona, you’ll hate this movie. Second, you can’t think too hard about the movie on an intellectual level.
This second requirement can be a bit of a challenge, considering this movie does open some doors of thought about God and religion. But don’t think too much about it, or you might just grumble.
Ultimately, “Bruce Almighty” is an excuse for Jim Carrey to be crazy and zany. He puts on his comedy hat and has fun with the script. It’s made for the Jim Carrey fan, although the supporting cast is pretty strong as well. In fact, it was this film that really gave Steve Carell his first stand-out role as Evan, Bruce’s nemesis. Carell steals a key scene from Carrey, which helped pave the way for him to star in the hugely budgeted (albeit poorly performing) sequel, “Evan Almighty.”
The cast is what makes this film work, whether it’s Jim Carrey making a monkey burst out of a Latino gangster’s ass or Morgan Freeman playing the ultimate parental role. Yes, the movie is funny, and yes you will laugh. After all, Tom Shadyac delivers this as a director. He rarely does thoughtful films.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Early in Jim Carrey’s A-lister career, I enjoyed his work. I loved the first “Ace Ventura,” and I really thought “The Mask” was brilliant. However, like Robin Williams, the guy’s comedy does gnaw at me after a while. As much as I like bathroom humor, the inappropriate crudeness gets to be a little much.
Also, because this film falls apart as a film that contemplates the existence of God and free will, I got distracted at the deeper moments. In one scene, Bruce is turning water into wine, then making a meteorite crash, then later he gets a Brady Bunch-esque lesson from God himself. Ultimately, this film takes itself a little too seriously at times.
Finally, as much as I enjoyed the supporting cast, I have never been thrilled with Jennifer Aniston. She could come or go as far as I am concerned, and this movie provides further proof to me that her name alone means nothing to a film’s success without a bigger star in tow.
The newly released Blu-ray includes all the special features from the DVD, which is already available. These include more than a half hour of deleted scenes and outtakes, commentary by director Tom Shadyac and a look at Jim Carrey’s creative process.
New Blu-ray features include access to Universal’s BD-Live Center, where you can share your favorite scenes with an online community.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Jim Carrey fans.