out of 4
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Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4
What an appealing concept: an ordinary guy becomes God, blessed with the
powers of the Almighty. Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a shallow, self-centered TV
news reporter in Buffalo, New York, who yearns to be Walter Cronkite. But
because he's wacky and amusing, Nolan's assigned lighter, human-interest stories
and passed over for the anchorman position. Yet his life's pretty darn good.
He's got a devoted, live-in girl-friend (Jennifer Aniston) and a
not-quite-house-broken dog. But he's angry that God has never answered his
prayers. In fact, he's so frustrated and furious that his temper tantrum takes
him to an audience with God (Morgan Freeman), who good-naturedly challenges him
to do a better job. Predictably, Nolan's initial reaction to omnipotence is
selfish - a new Ferrari, exclusive news scoops, etc. - but, eventually, he gets
around to making a mess of mankind's infinite problems as his divine
intervention goes awry.
Reminiscent of "Dear God," "It's a Wonderful Life," etc., the whimsical
story by Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe & Steve Oedekerk is sappy and melodramatic.
But Jim Carrey's blessed with such incredible comedic talent and precise comedic
timing that he elevates the mediocre material. Morgan Freeman embodies an
indulgent, dignified deity with infinite patience and a sharp sense of humor.
Director Tom Shadyac ("Liar, Liar") makes the most of several hilarious scenes,
particularly when a rival newsman (Steve Carell) spouts gibberish on-air. And
there's a poignant message when Nolan wails, "How do you make someone love you
if you can't affect free will?" To which the Lord replies, "Welcome to my world,
son." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Bruce Almighty" is a simplistic,
spiritual 7, promoting the power of faith.
Copyright © 2003 Susan Granger
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