by Chris Parry
May God strike me down for admitting it, but I actually found most of Bruce Almighty pretty funny. Yeah, yeah, I know I should be ashamed, and normally I would be, but darn it all if there aren't some decent snickers in this sometimes cutting, sometimes nasty, mostly frou-frou Jim Carrey comedy experience. Never before have I heard the F word used in a film about God, though I'm sure there were a few times in The Passion of the Christ when that Jesus fella was thinking it...Bruce (Carrey) is a TV new reporter who is irked by the ridiculous nature of his job. as he spends his days putting together reports on "The Town's Biggest Cookie" and other assorted fluffery, he pines for something bigger - the role of TV anchorman. In true comedy formula however, Bruce has to compete with the office asshole (The Daily Show's Steve Carell) for the job, and when he doesn't get the position, our hero freaks out on camera, uses the F-word and begins the worst day of his life.
"I laughed. Then I felt dirty for having done so. Then I laughed more."
Which, of course, he blames God for. Because, seriously, that bearded mofo has been asleep at the wheel of late. What? He can turn stones into bread, yet he can't make my train run on time? That's just lazy work habits, Jesus.
So Bruce's trash-talking to the big guy results in him getting all manner of signs that God (Morgan Freeman) is listening, culminating in being invited to the Big Guy's offices, where the keys to God-dom are handed over in a bizarre case of 'nyah, nyah, nyah-nyah, nyah'.
Of course, when Bruce learns he can do anything he wants, he misuses his powers to benefit himself at the expense of others, including giving his girlfriend bigger hooters, blowing the skirts of passing women up and dragging the moon closer to Earth so that an evening of romance will be more romantic - to hell with the ensuing tidal waves such things cause.
Really, if you think too hard about Bruce Almighty's logic cramps, you're shooting fish in a barrel. I mean, shouldn't God know that Bruce is going to misuse his powers and mess up the lives of millions? Shouldn't he know that old chestnut that 'proof denies faith', and thus proving to Bruce that being God is a tough job is kind of inappropriate? And why would God even need to prove such things to anyone? He's GOD, for crying out loud! Feeling glum? Zap yourself a nice juicy T-Bone steak and watch Drew Carey reruns with a bottle of Jack - it's not like we're going to know.
Irrespective of plotholes, Bruce Almighty has some laughs. Not huge laughs, but decent laughs, and it allows Carrey to get a little ornery, regardless of the risk that the true believers would pull a Dogma boycott on the film and call it sacreligious. I mean, it's as if the makers of this film were really trying to get the biblebashers pissed, but nobody bit. A black God? (shock!) A false idol playing God for a weekend? (shock!) A God saying "fucker" and giving his girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston) a no-touch orgasm? (repent!)Unlike the Fist Full of Nails crowd, Bruce Almighty seems to actually have a sense of humor about belief, and has at its core the desire to make people giggle, while maybe stopping to think about whether they could be better folks. There's a little too much preaching, and certainly an overdose of final act sugar-coating, but if you can get past the fact that this is a Jim Carrey film, it might even be an enjoyable hour and a half for you.
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originally posted: 05/26/04 07:38:41