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Bruce Almighty (12A)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Director commentary from Tom Shadyac; Deleted scenes; Outtakes; Featurette.

JIM Carrey's latest comedy, which sees him reunited with Ace Venture/Liar Liar director, Tom Shadyac, is a film about a man who goes in search of God and finds himself - but before you reach for the sick bag, hold on a moment!

For while the film is certainly as sentimental, in places, as its premise sounds, there are some divinely inspired touches, and it is good to see Carrey making a return to the comedy arena after attempting to find himself in more serious matter.

Backed by a first-rate cast, which includes Jennifer Aniston, as his girlfriend, and Morgan Freeman, as God (hell, he's played the President already, so why not The Almighty?), Carrey goes in search of the laughter bone and frequently hits the target.

As Bruce Nolan, a self-obsessed television reporter with his eye on the anchor position, who consistently blames God for his own failures, he is eventually given the chance to 'do better', following a particularly bad day at the office, after which he challenges the man upstairs to stop ignoring him.

And with the world at his fingertips, Nolan does what any red-blooded male would do - sets about improving it for the benefit of himself.

Hence, he forgets about listening to other people's prayers, or the world situation as a whole, and channels his efforts on securing the job promotion and impressing his girlfriend - regardless of the implications this has on others.

Judgement day beckons, however, and it isn't long before Bruce has to take responsibility for his own and other people's lives, and is forced to confront the reality of his situation. The rest goes without saying...

It is obvious from the outset that Nolan will find salvation, via a pit-stop at the confessional, and some devilishly wicked antics, yet that shouldn't stop you from indulging in the fun, for the film frequently delights with some well-observed sight gags.

The discovery of Jimmy Hoffa's body and Nolan's revenge on a rival reporter are particularly funny, as is the moment where he parts a bowl of soup like the Red Sea.

Carrey, too, refrains from becoming too manic, balancing the humour with some more dramatic moments, made possible thanks to his more serious roles, while his relationship with Freeman is beautifully played, with the latter also displaying a nice line in comic timing.

It's just a shame that Shadyac can't avoid the temptation to become overly sentimental during the closing stages, dragging things out to a needlessly slushy conclusion.

But that shouldn't detract from an otherwise successful comedy, which has helped Carrey to reclaim his crown as Hollywood's comedy king. Let us pray he continues to be this funny.

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