Bruce Almighty (2003) starring Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Philip Baker Hall, Catherine Bell, Lisa Ann Walter, Nora Dunn directed by Tom Shadyac Movie Review

Bruce Almighty (2003)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jim Carrey as Bruce Nolan in Bruce Almighty


Jim Carrey, with his over the top face pulling and slightly juvenile humour is one of those comedians that you are going to either like or hate, a bit like Marmite. There is no middle ground as his brand of comedy is shall we say a little OTT and often a little adolescent. So it's no surprise when I say that you will either love or hate "Bruce Almighty" depending on your feelings about Jim Carrey. It doesn't matter that it also stars Jennifer Aniston and Morgan Freeman, because "Bruce Almighty" is a Jim Carrey movie, designed to showcase his over the top antics and not a lot else.

Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey - The Grinch) is having a bad day, actually a bad time full stop. His dog pees in the apartment, he gets beaten up, his girlfriend is growing tired of him and worst of all his rival at the Buffalo news station where has got the big News anchor job he so wanted. Fed up with the world being against him he blames God (Morgan Freeman - The Shawshank Redemption) for all that is bad with his life and so God appears to him in human form giving him all his powers and tells him to try and do a better job.

Morgan Freeman as God in Bruce Almighty

Right from the start it is plain to see that "Bruce Almighty" is very much a Jim Carrey movie, designed to showcase his over the top humour. Yes there are sub plots, such as his relationship with his girlfriend Grace, his rivalry with fellow news reporter Evan Baxter and of course the quasi moral lesson when he inherits all of God's powers but they are for the most flimsy and are there purely to connect all the various gags. It certainly has a feeling of being a scene focused movie with numerous set pieces loosely connected together. The strange thing is that it doesn't feel terrible for being so and is so fast paced that you have no time to realise that what you are really getting is an onslaught of gags, well at least until the closing quarter when it tries to deliver a wholesome moral message, try being the operative word.

Being a joke based movie does mean that we are bombarded with Jim Carrey and his face pulling, arm waving antics to the point that it feels like it's never going to end. This is why you will either like or hate "Bruce Almighty" as its non stop Carrey and non stop Carrey humour. For me it works because Carrey is on top form delivering a performance full of his extrovert humour yet appealing because his down trodden every man has something a little human about him. We all get days when the whole world seems to be against us so it is possible to empathise with his character. As for the humour well at times it's clever, such as when he realises he has all this power he parts a bowl of tomato soup, but then it is counter acted by plenty of juvenility such as the scene where he causes Jennifer Anniston to orgasm without being near her, don't worry it's not distasteful, just juvenile.

One of the issues with "Bruce Almighty is that it is so much about Jim Carrey that his co-stars are wasted. I like Jennifer Anniston but any rom-com talent could have played the role, because for the most it is side lined to the background. Then there is Steve Carell as Evan Baxter who likewise is pushed to the back despite providing plenty of humour in his small role, although he must have made an impact because they made the sequel "Evan Almighty". Plus there is Morgan Freeman who gets to play God and he does so quite brilliantly with both gravitas, humour and a bit of sage like quality but again is over shadowed by the dominance of Jim Carrey.

What this all boils down to is that "Bruce Almighty" is not a bad movie especially if you like Jim Carrey and his over the top brand of humour. There is multitude of clever gags which will have you laughing, but equally a huge amount of gags which fail to pay off because they are a little too juvenile. It is what it is, a comedy built around a few loose storylines and a lot of set pieces gags which become tiresome by the movie ends.