Film Review © 2003 by Trip Reynolds
Directed by Tom Shadyac; Screenplay by Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe, Steve Oedekerk. Produced by Michael Bostick, James D. Brubaker, Jim Carrey, Steve Koren, and Mark O'Keefe. Executive Produced by Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum.
Starring Jim Carrey (as a down on his luck, passed over for the big TV anchor job, but ever aspiring TV reporter, Bruce Nolan), Jennifer Aniston (as the not-much-to-do-in-this-film wife of Bruce), Morgan Freeman (as the powerful but estranged, GOD), Philip Baker Hall (as Jack Keller), Catherine Bell (as Susan Ortega), Lisa Ann Lalter (as Debbie), Steven Carell (as TV anchorman, Evan Baxter) Nora Dunn (as Ally Loman), and Edward Jemison (as Bobby).
Jim Carrey is funny as he, again, capably reprises his over-the-top physical comedy. However, the film is stupid and, sadly, an insult to a person's belief in the power of God and (at least one) man's instinctive ability to be creative. Think about it, a man gets the opportunity to temporarily have God's power and what does he do? He gives his woman bigger tits, and empowers his dog with the ability to pee with the seat down.
The film should have been both a helluva lot more serious and a helluva lot funnier. Frankly, there are people throughout the world with serious, really serious problems that make being passed over for a promotion completely insignificant. Nevertheless, the script is anchored around the pettiness of Nolan's lost promotion.
Albert Brooks wrote, directed and starred in a much better film about the trivialities of our human existence. With a supporting cast that also included Meryl Streep, Rip Torn, Lee Grant, Buck Henry and Shirley MacLaine, "Defending Your Life," from 1991, wonderfully captured the seemingly intangible and intrinsic relationship between what a person does (their job) and what a person is (their real worth). "Bruce Almighty" falls flat in comparison.
Given the scope of what Hollywood is able to do with special effects, the script failed to challenge the possibilities available to someone who has the power of GOD - even if possession of God's power was only temporary. With considerably less to work with, George Burns demonstrated more depth with his treatment of divinity in his "Oh, God" films. Truly, "Bruce Almighty" is man's work, not God's.
Film is directed like a TV movie of the week.
Film has a uneven running length of 101 minutes.
Recommendation: Wait for it on TV!