REVIEW: EVAN ALMIGHTY

 

CAST

Steve Carell (Anchorman)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight Rises)
Lauren Graham (Bad Santa)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Wanda Sykes (Clerks 2)
John Michael Higgins (Still Waiting..)
Jonah Hill (21 Jump Street)
Harve Presnell (Lois & Clark)
Johnny Simmons (Jennifer’s Body)
Graham Phillips (The Good Wife)
Jimmy Bennett (Orphan)
Ed Helms (The Hangover)
Rachael Harris (Lucifer)
Dean Norris (Terminator 2)
Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory)
Jon Stewart (The Faculty)
Catherine Bell (JAG)
Molly Shannon (Wet Hot American Summer)
P.J. Byrne (Black Lightning)
Arden Myrin (Insatiable)
Audrey Wasilewski (Red)
Meagen Fay (That’s My Boy)
Suzy Nakamura (Horrible Bosses 2)
Jan Hoag (Scream Queens)
Lamont Thompson (The O.C)
Tucker Smallwood (Contact)

MV5BMTk0ODQyNDc3M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTA2MTEzMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1499,1000_AL_Newly elected to Congress, former local television news reporter Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) leaves his hometown of Buffalo, New York and moves to suburban northern Virginia, where his congressional campaign declares that he will change the world. Evan prays to God (Morgan Freeman) to give him this opportunity. On the other hand, his wife, Joan (Lauren Graham), expresses her concern about the new location and prays that she, Evan, and their three sons (Jimmy Bennett, Graham Phillips, and Johnny Simmons) will be closer together as a family. On the first day of his job, Evan is given a prime office space, where he is accompanied by his three congressional staffers, Rita, Marty, and Eugene (Wanda Sykes, Jonah Hill, John Michael Higgins), and invited to co-sponsor the Public Land Act bill with his boss, Chuck Long (John Goodman). Soon after Evan’s arrival to Congress, six strange things start to happen around him:MV5BMTU1NzA3OTI1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMjg4NjA3._V1_His alarm clock repeatedly goes off at 6:14 a.m. Ancient tools and gopher wood are delivered to his house. Pairs of animals simply follow Evan without any apparent reason (with birds even flying into his office through the window). Evan grows a beard that immediately reappears no matter how many times he shaves. Eight vacant lots in Evan’s neighborhood are purchased in his name.The number “614” increasingly appears everywhere he goes.Evan soon learns that the number refers to the verse in the Book of Genesis, where God instructs Noah to build an Ark in preparation for a flood. God repeatedly appears in various guises before finally revealing himself to Evan, cordially insisting that Evan should build an Ark as well. God explains to Evan that a flood is coming, and that the only opportunity Evan will have to change the world is by saving his community instead. God also tells Evan to inform others about the flood should they ask him later. Evan’s family initially believes that he is having a mid-life crisis. Later, his three sons suspect something greater is occurring and assist him, along with various animals, in the construction of the Ark, although Joan does not. The fully constructed ark is at the center of the image with a downcast sky. A large ramp on the left side of the image is leading up into the ark. In the foreground of the image is a paved street.

Animals eventually follow Evan to Congress. When Long discovers this, he allows Evan latitude at first, but warns him that he will no longer tolerate it if it happens again in the future. Meanwhile, Evan’s staffers are outraged by his change in appearance and behavior. When Evan returns to the Ark, God presents him with a robe, and later tells him that the flood will likely come at midday on September 22. When Joan becomes suspicious of his behavior, Evan tells her the truth: God has been talking to him and is responsible for his new looks and recent actions, although Joan does not believe Evan and is convinced that he is beginning to lose his mind. After wearing the robe for some time, Evan finds it comfortable, but soon realizes that God will not allow him to take it off and wear anything else after two failed tries to change his clothes later. The next time Evan arrives at Congress, animals follow him once again.Film Title: Evan AlmightyOnce Evan finally explains his reason for this, his facial hair, and his robe, he is temporarily suspended from Congress after humiliating himself in front of many witnesses. Long later removes Evan from the Public Land Act bill that he is co-sponsoring with him. Joan watches the news on television and initially believes that Evan is going insane, and decides to return to her mother’s home. Joan packs up her van and takes her sons to come with her, much to their reluctance. Evan deduces that God purposely had him suspended from Congress so that he would have more time to build the Ark, although Joan remains skeptical and departs. Evan decides to build the Ark alone, gaining media attention and public ridicule, as hundreds of animals assemble in pairs. Meanwhile, God appears to Joan as a waiter at a diner, wearing a name tag displaying “Al Mighty”.MV5BMTk4NTc1NTc0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNDQ4NjA3._V1_In this guise, God listens to Joan as she picks up the newspaper she was reading and shows it to him, which mocks Evan and features him building the Ark. Joan explains that Evan claims that God asked him to do it, but she is concerned that Evan is only losing his sanity and allowing himself to become the laughingstock of the neighborhood. Sympathetic toward Evan, God tells Joan that perhaps it is an opportunity for him, and explains that he himself does not give things but only the opportunity by which to obtain things, citing togetherness of families as one of these things. Seeing God’s meaning, Joan returns to Evan with new-found faith and helps him and the animals finish the Ark together in order to prepare for the flood. Meanwhile, word reaches Evan that Long has commissioned a dam and has cut corners in doing so.On September 22, Evan loads hundreds of animals onto the newly finished Ark in front of spectators and live news crews, who continue to mock him. Later, Long and the policemen arrive with a wrecking ball crew and try to destroy the Ark, since it violates numerous building codes. Minutes pass with no sign of rain, provoking spectator scorn. A large rainstorm does come, but it is brief. Joan asks Evan to leave the Ark and believes that maybe God did not mean a literal flood, but a metaphorical one. However, Evan witness Long’s dam burst from the distance, causing all of the spectators, reporters, and policemen to immediately seek refuge in the Ark, which rides the flood through the streets and landmarks of Washington, D.C.. The Ark reaches its final destination in front of the Capitol, which disrupts the vote on the Public Land Act bill. Evan tells Long that the flood was caused by his poor design of the dam, which incites other Congressmen also present to turn against Long.

After Congress puts the Public Land Act bill on hold to investigate Long’s defective dam and the animals returning to their natural habitat, Evan is given his job back with a promotion, and celebrates these events by finally shaving his beard, changing back into his regular clothes, and going on a long-promised hiking trip with his family. When God reappears once again during the hike, Evan is initially disappointed when he realizes that he never needed to build the Ark again in the first place, since the flood only happened because of Long’s defective dam. However, God reassures Evan that he now has a perfect life as well as everything that he had originally prayed for, and that this would not have happened otherwise. Evan is happy to realize this, as God informs him that the right way to change the world is by doing one Act of Random Kindness (ARK) at a time. During the film’s closing credits, God issues a new commandment to the outgoing audience: “Thou shalt do the dance”, and later follow by the footage where the film’s cast and crew dance to “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” by C+C Music Factory.

Evan Almighty is predictable on every turn, and has enough humor to satisfy. The animals do their part to provide a fair share of fecal humor. Morgan Freeman offers up plenty of wisdom in the role of God. Steve Carell does an exceptionally adequate job of delivering very humorous dialogue, which in his style is sure to be adlibbed in great part. The sheer amounts of animals in this film are overwhelming and a treat to behold. Overall the storyline and humor feel very cliché. Evan Almighty was a mild success, but just does not offer anything special apart from a few good laughs.

REVIEW: BRUCE ALMIGHTY

 

CAST

Jim Carrey (Kick-Ass 2)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jennifer Aniston (Rumor Has It)
Philip Baker Hall (50/50)
Catherine Bell (JAG)
Lisa Ann Walter (War of The Worlds)
Steve Carell (Anchorman)
Nora Dunn (new Girl)
Eddie Jemison (Izombie)
Sally Kirkland (JFK)
Bradley Stryker (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Annie Wersching (The Vampire Diaries)
Noel Gugliemi (Training Day)
Emilio Rivera (Venom)
Ara Celi (Machete)
Max Grodénchik (Star Trek: DS9)
P.J. Byrne (Black Lightning)

yukyukuykyukyukBruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a television field reporter for Eyewitness News at WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York, but desires to be the news anchorman. He is in a healthy relationship with his girlfriend Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston), but also has a mild crush on his co-worker, Susan Ortega (Catherine Bell), who barely seems to notice him. Bruce however continues to suffer unfortunate events and it reaches his breaking point when he is passed over for promotion by his rival, Evan Baxter (Steve Carell), who then steals dialogue from Bruce’s segment in accepting the promotion on-air. Bruce becomes furious and aggressively and profanely criticizes the station during his first live report, leading to his dismissal from the station. Following a series of other misfortunes, Bruce complains that God (Morgan Freeman) is “the one that should be fired.”

Bruce later receives a message on his pager, directing him to an empty warehouse where he meets God, who offers to give Bruce His powers to prove that He is doing the job correctly. God tells Bruce that there are rules to the job he must follow, albeit only two: firstly, Bruce cannot tell anyone else that he has God’s powers; and secondly, Bruce cannot use the powers to alter or interfere with free will. Bruce ignores God and is initially jubilant with the powers, using them for personal gain, such as training his dog to use the toilet, chasing away thugs by spewing out a swarm of hornets, and sexually impressing Grace. Bruce also finds ways of using the powers to cause miraculous events to occur at otherwise mundane events that he covers, such as discovering Jimmy Hoffa’s body or causing a meteor to harmlessly land near a cook-off, earning him his job back. Bruce then uses his powers to cause Evan to make a fool out of himself on-air, causing Evan to be fired in favor of Bruce as the new anchor.

After taking Grace to a fancy dinner and telling her he made anchor (angering her, as she thought he was going to propose), Bruce begins to hear voices in his head. He re-encounters God, who confronts Bruce on using his powers for personal gain and not helping people. He also explains that the voices are prayers to God that Bruce must deal with. Bruce creates a computerized email-like system to receive the prayers and respond, but finds that the influx is far too great for him to handle — even though God had stated that Bruce is only receiving prayers from the Buffalo area — and sets the program to automatically answer Yes to every prayer. Bruce attends a party celebrating his promotion. When Grace arrives, she finds Bruce being seduced and kissed by Susan, and quickly leaves.MV5BMTk0ODQyNDc3M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTA2MTEzMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1499,1000_AL_Bruce follows Grace, but she is heartbroken and will not listen to him. He tries to use his powers to convince Grace to stay but cannot influence her free will. As Bruce looks around, he realizes that the city has fallen into chaos due to his actions. Bruce returns to God, who explains that He can’t solve all the problems, and that Bruce must figure out a way to solve it himself. Bruce then begins to solve his problems in life practically, such as helping a man whose car broke down across the street, training his dog normally, and allowing Evan to have his job back. Bruce returns to his computer system and goes about answering prayers as best he can. As he reads through them, he finds a prayer from Grace, wishing for Bruce’s success and well-being. As he reads it, another prayer from Grace arrives, this one wishing not to be in love with Bruce anymore.

Bruce is stunned and walks alone on a highway, asking God to take back His powers and letting his fate be in His hands. Bruce is suddenly struck by a truck, and regains consciousness in a white void. God appears and asks Bruce what he really wants; Bruce admits that he only wants to make sure Grace finds a man that would make her happy. God agrees and Bruce finds himself in the hospital, shortly after being revived—near miraculously—by the doctors. Grace arrives and the two rekindle their relationship, with Bruce and Grace later becoming engaged. After his recovery, Bruce returns to his field reporting but takes more pleasure in the simple stories. Bruce and Grace announce their engagement on live TV.BruceSchiemoThe film ends with the beggar who Bruce had previously run into on various occasions finally revealing himself to be God. Morgan Freeman delivers a fantastic performance as the Man himself, displaying a God whose infinite wisdom is somewhat reflected through Freeman’s massive talent as an actor. He is the kind of God who takes his job very seriously, but in such a way as to advise his followers that there are times when you need to slow down and do some manual labor in life. I love his line that some of the happiest people in the world come home smelling to high heaven at the end of the day.2840726-morgan_godBruce Almighty is one of the more memorable comedies, It is a comedy written and performed in good taste, but with enough relatively low-brow humor to keep the everyone entertained. This is a meaningful comedy for the whole family.