Preview by: Jack Foley
HAVING spent some time in the comedy wilderness, while finding
his range in more serious projects such as The Truman Show and
Man on The Moon, Jim Carrey returns to what he does best - in
And the concept is an intriguing one. Carrey stars as Bruce Nolan,
a whiny TV news reporter, whose human-interest stories don't interest
him at all.
His girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston) loves him, despite his negative
take on the world, but when Bruce is fired, he asks once again
why God has decided to give him so much grief.
However, it turns out that God (Morgan Freeman) is listening,
and is tired of Bruce's complaints, so offers Bruce his all-encompassing
job - giving him absolute power for one week in the hope of proving
to him how tough it is to run the world.
From its trailer alone, Bruce Almighty suggests that this could
be a return to comedy form for Carrey - particularly after his
previous funny outings (The Grinch and Me, Myself and Irene).
For instance, upon being given the power to do whatever he wants,
Carrey sets about setting off water sprinklers to the strains
of Snap's 'I've Got The Power', walking on water, training his
dog to use the toilet and, best of all, giving his girlfriend
bigger breasts (not that we think Aniston is necessarily lacking
in that department!).
The movie also marks the star's third collaboration with director,
Tom Shadyac, following the pair's successful outings in Ace Ventura:
Pet Detective and Liar, Liar.
However, Shadyac, too, has been feeling the force of the critics'
wrath, given that his previous venture, Dragonfly
(starring Kevin Costner), was such a sentimental disappointment.
The film is due to open in the UK on June 27 but critics in America
have already delivered their verdict (right).
The film opened in America on May 23 - one week after the Matrix
Reloaded - but try as he might, Carrey's Almighty was unable
to win over as many critics as he had hoped.
The Seattle Times led the way, stating that 'there's the
seed of a brilliant idea lurking in [this] disappointingly bland
comedy', while the New York Post found it 'less than divinely
The Chicago Tribune felt that '[Carrey is] working so
strenuously that at times he's hard to watch', while Variety stated
that 'the potential for Carrey as God to wreak comic havoc is
not only kept under a tight rein, it remains inconsistently realized'.
TV Guide went one worse, stating that: "Unfortunately,
such potential is wasted here in what amounts to a sour celebration
of mean-spiritedness with an unconvincing moment of redemption
tacked onto the end."
Reel Views added: "[It] starts out as a dumb comedy
before taking an ill-advised detour into mawkish sentimentality."
Of a more mixed nature was Entertainment Weekly, which
awarded it a B-, and wrote that 'the jokes have been custom-tailored
to Carrey, yet in a strange way that's their limitation as well
as their amusement'.
While Slant Magazine felt that it was 'a conservative
Of a more positive nature, however, was E! Online, which
also awarded it a B-, but opined: "If you're looking for
a decent Jim Carrey flick, consider your prayers answered."
And better still was the verdict of the Boston Phoenix,
which wrote that 'this is the rubber-faced, rubber-limbed Carrey
of old, and it's a treat to watch his brilliant clowning, no matter
how juvenile it is'.
The New York Daily News even stated that 'Bruce has you
spring-cleaning your lungs with laughter', while USA Today
felt that 'the gags range from silly to clever, but they're almost
always well executed'.
The mixed reaction was probably best summed up, however, by the
New York Times, which concluded that 'at least until its
preachy, goody-goody conclusion, [it's] funnier than either of
the two earlier Carrey films (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Liar,
Liar) directed by Tom Shadyac'.