Film Review: Bruce Almighty

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January 26, 2004|6:02 am

Burce Almighty continues to show audiences how versatile Jim Carrey is. Although his career soared after he began appearing in the comedy show In Living Color and movies such as The Mask and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, his sense of humor lacked morality. Not to say that there weren’t any raunchy jokes in Bruce Almighty but the film does have redeeming content and ending.

Carrey plays main character Bruce Nolan, whose career goal is to become a television anchor. Stuck with doing silly features that rarely make it on air, he eagerly awaits the retirement of a current male anchor for his chance to shine. During a special opportunity he received to report near Nigaa Falls, Nolan’s rival Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) is announced as the new anchor. Nolan is outraged and makes such a scene on his live broadcast that he is fired from the station. He blames God for his misfortune and at one point, asks God to help him after throwing resentful remarks at God. After receiving anonymous pages, he eventually calls the number and is then asked to come to for job offer. He then meets God (Morgan Freeman) who endows him with all His powers. Skeptical but eventually realizing that he holds all the powers of God, Nolan sets out to set his life back on track. He uses his powers mainly to enhance his chances of stealing the anchor job from Baxter. Chaos erupts near the end of the movie as he irresponsibly agrees to fulfill everyone’s prayer requests and conflict arises. His girlfriend Grace (Jennifer Aniston) is fed up with his self-centered lifestyle and leaves him. Nolan finds himself with his dream job but without happiness as he is without the love of Grace. God steps in and helps Bruce set things right again and the movie ends happily with the two being together.

Blasphemous? Maybe. Funny? Some parts. Worth watching? Sure. The movie makes Nolan out to be an ambitious self-centered cynic who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He purposely sabotages Baxter’s career and does many immature things unfitting of someone with God’s powers. He abuses them. But the redeeming quality of the movie is that he not only learns from all his mistakes but takes the last step to correct all of them. In the last scene when God asks him if he would want Grace back, Nolan replies, “No,” because he would rather have her be happy than for her to be with him. The response proves that Nolan now realizes that love is about trying the get the other person to please you but you wanting the best for the one you love. His selfishness is renounced in this scene. Before that, concerning the his war against Baxton, Nolan reconciles by giving back the anchor job to Baxton because he felt Baxton was the better man for the job.

God is also portrayed in a very warm light. Although the movie used Morgan Freeman to play the role of God, portraying God as an African-American male, the character was not only patient but forgiving. He called Nolan to his what was used as his office and offered Nolan the job as God since Nolan thought he could do better. Implicitly, the movie shows that God does hear all prayers and makes efforts to answer them all. God is shown to be the “all-knowing” being who commented that he knows how funny Nolan is because He created him. Even until the last scene, God is portrayed as having a light side, repeating the word “good” along with Bruce in a Southern accent.

There is a scene where Nolan is preparing to sleep with Grace even though they weren’t married. That was uncomfortable to watch as she made sounds as Nolan used his powers to induce pleasure to her. But in the end, Grace is also a character that redeems herself because it is revealed that she prays every night for Nolan.

Critics may say it’s’ blasphemous and the uses of Bible verses throughout the movie may be completely out of context but I say it is a movie, although not ideally Christian-promoting, but can be a step forward to help build the bridge between two worlds of secularism and Christianity. The use of mainstream actors in a movie with a Christian theme can help bridge two cultures and bring more people to understand God in a modern-day context. The movie ends with Nolan understanding God’s burden and heart and the two having a close relationship after having reconciled. Now, that's a good ending.

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