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Overall Rating

Awesome: 1.72%
Worth A Look: 25.86%
Pretty Bad: 15.52%
Total Crap: 17.24%

7 reviews, 16 user ratings

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Evan Almighty
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by Erik Childress

"The Non-Passion of the Shadyac & Oedekerk"
3 stars

The target audience for the second book in the “almightiest series ever” is not necessarily the same as the ones who came to see Jim Carrey the first time. For whatever heresy was created against the first commandment by replacing God with a lifestyle opportunist, the film appealed enough to gross over $240 million. Too bad that number couldn’t be broken down into how many pious bible thumpers looked the other way for once since the series has shifted towards their camp. Not a horrible idea, marketing-wise, considering that $175 of that $242 has reportedly gone into crafting this modern-day Noah fable that is going to appeal heavily to families and the Sunday-PG crowd. Bruce Almighty wasn’t a great comedy by any means, but it certainly had enough laughs to make up for its lack of ingenuity in executing its on-highest of concepts. Evan’s chuckles will mostly be coming out the mouths of babes and sucklings while adults will be able to endure its intentions and pray for something better.

Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) was Bruce’s newsman rival the first go-round. In the spirit of Judgment Day sequels though, Evan has done a complete 180 thanks solely to a humbling congratulations by his greatest enemy. Now he’s leaving his anchorman position on a Senatorial campaign to “change the world.” Elected to the D.C. area, Evan moves his wife, Joan (Lauren Graham) and three sons to a thriving landscape overlooking the suburbs and is greeted with a housewarming present more suited for a carpentry company or Eli Roth’s romper room. As more deliveries arrive and the meaning of the number 614 begins to make more sense than the number twenty-three, God (Morgan Freeman) makes an appearance and presents Evan with a mission.

The big G warns that a flood is coming and he wants Evan to build an ark. After the standard initial skepticism, God begins to make it very difficult for Evan to maintain his current lifestyle. Two of, seemingly, every animal on the planet begin following him around. God even enacts the Santa Clause by growing out Evan’s hair and making grooming an impossible feat that can’t help but go unnoticed by his staff and the Congressman (John Goodman) seeking Evan’s support for a questionable environmental bill. Ultimately given little choice, Evan commits to the construction project and uses it to reconnect with the family happy to take advantage of the big house that comes with daddy’s job but not the hiking trip cancellations.

There are really no surprises to be had in Evan Almighty. What you see in the trailer is pretty much what you get and that’s OK to an extent. As family films go, this is as congenial as you can get. It has a nice message, doesn’t overstay its 90-minute running time (except for the groan spectacle of a C&C Music Factory lip sync-&-dance closer) and parents won’t think twice about recommending it to the pew in front of them. Unfortunately that’s also the problem with Steve Oedekerk’s script which does just enough to appease the movie gods and not draw their wrath. He solves the major drawback of the Noah story (i.e. God being pissed and wiping out most of the world) by having the Lord dispute the interpretation of the parable. It’s actually a “love story” according to him about sticking together while everyone misses the opportunity for a Titanicesque punchline. By eliminating all references to heavenly genocide, Oedekerk never gets anywhere near Hurricane Katrina and, even more surprisingly, not connecting unusual weather shifts to the ongoing awareness of global warming. Why upset audiences looking for a fun flood flick though?

Most disappointing about Evan’s lightweight progression though is its failings in the grand finale. There is certainly a spectacle and the effects work is decent enough, but aside from the non-believers getting a free ride from the catastrophe, the grandness is scaled down to an inconsequential cop-out that calls into question the whole “change the world” mentality preached by our protagonists. The world is overreaching a bit since the waters were unlikely to endanger more than a few dogs, cats and assorted woodland critters. There’s a certain majesty to seeing every animal align Evan’s land as they seek their savior, but when all is said and done, what exactly are the birds fearing?

Evan Almighty is more drippy than awash in big laughs. Carell has a few choice lines (my favorite being a reference to his wife’s favorite musical artist) and he carries the movie on his back even while its motions are far behind him. Maybe my fondness for Carell as a comic actor wins the film more points than it really deserves. Director Tom Shadyac caused more of a debate with Patch Adams than he will here and it will likely reward him with a fifth $100-million grosser. I’m fine with the occasional “nice-PG” film made for all ages, but don’t expect more than just a “nice” review when you underreach your potential for epic comedy status. The ark may have a smooth finish all around, but that book from where it was built had more than a few rough edges to it. While it’s a joke that has been worn since its second appearance ever on screen, its funnier that a film made to offend the fewest of people is intent on just crapping on as many possible within its frames.

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originally posted: 06/22/07 14:00:00
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User Comments

8/30/14 Mario is the Best This movie is funny. 4 stars
8/27/08 Shaun Wallner Funny Flick!! 3 stars
1/11/08 David Cohen If "Oh God" had been written for morons, it would have been Evan Almighty 2 stars
12/29/07 mitul i fail to see the "comedy" in this, and "black woman says funny things" isn't funny at all 2 stars
10/17/07 mb Kinda funny 3 stars
10/15/07 fools♫gold Proof that Steve Carrel wasn't why 40-Year-Old Virgin wasn't funny. 4 stars
10/09/07 Gretchen Seitz Nice parody of... uh, of what?...WHAT?!? Not a parody? Well duh!?! 2 stars
7/10/07 Anthony Feor it's just not funny 1 stars
7/04/07 PamE Carell was terrific and saved the movie, Enjoyed Bruce better, too 3 stars
7/02/07 Blizz About as bland as cinema gets...even worse than BRUCE, which was also shit. 1 stars
6/28/07 gr117 Just wanted to show my appreciation for the "all ark no bite" tagline in one of the reviews 3 stars
6/26/07 Quigley Not as bad as I expected. Carell was great and so was Freeman. "Bruce" was billions better 4 stars
6/24/07 KingNeutron Unequivocal 5 *'s. See it on bigscreen for FX; buy the DVD for the kids. 5 stars
6/23/07 DonnyM 1408 was Sold out. I would rather read to old people. 1 stars
6/23/07 Anthony G Terrible Terrible film. 1 stars
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  22-Jun-2007 (PG)
  DVD: 09-Oct-2007



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