Review by Jack Foley
JIM Carrey’s Bruce Almighty yielded a divine windfall at the box office and paved the way for its inevitable sequel Evan Almighty – but who would have guessed the result would become such an unholy mess?
Rather than building a suitable platform upon which to float Steve Carell’s genuine comic skills, it sinks under the weight of a hopelessly overblown budget and a preachy, uninspired screenplay.
The film follows the fortunes of newly elected congressman Evan Baxter (Carell, reprising his small role from Bruce) as he moves to a new neighbourhood just outside Washington and bids for a successful career in Congress.
Within days of his arrival, however, Evan is approached by God (Morgan Freeman) to build an Ark and reluctantly does so, quickly falling foul of his political colleagues (most notably John Goodman) and becoming a magnet for animals everywhere.
The main problem with Tom Shadyac’s follow-up is that it doesn’t seem to realise where its biggest assets lie. Rather than focusing on Carell and his excellent comic timing, the film becomes too pre-occupied with shoddy special effects and Jesus-friendly message making.
Carell is left to try and conjure laughs out of repetitive sight gags involving facial hair and tool-based accidents, while contorting his body into any number of uncomfortable positions. And to be fair, he does well.
But the likes of Goodman and Freeman seem to be on autopilot, while the jokes themselves are just plain obvious.
Younger viewers might get a kick out of seeing some of the animals go to work and perform for the camera but even they might feel short-changed by the tacky effects finale during which the real reason for the Ark building becomes clear.
To make matters worse, the notion that Hollywood can spend in excess of $175 million on a (lame) comedy about saving people from an impending flood might sit uncomfortably with anyone affected by the perceived lack of support offered to the people of New Orleans in the wake of their disaster – or even UK viewers affected by our own recent weather woes.
Evan Almighty is therefore a sinful waste of money that deserves to find a watery grave.
Running time: 95mins