All good things must pass. In the case of Jim Carrey that means that the honeymoon period of mugging, gurgling and over-acting his way into our hearts was destined to cease. For mine this happened with Fun with Dick and Jane, but the signs of laziness and a lack of inspiration are evident for all in Bruce Almighty.
Bruce Nolan (Carrey) is an amiable hard working reporter in a small network riding a bad streak. In a short span he is passed over for a plum job – which leads to an on-air meltdown, which leads to a personal crisis of confidence, which leads to an argument with wife Grace (Jennifer Aniston) and a mugging, which leads to an empty house in which to sit and ponder all the things that might have been…
All followed by a near death experience.
Bruce somewhat understandably doesn’t take all these seemingly random events in stride, opting instead to loudly decry his lot in life and to ‘call out’ God for being such a spoilsport by playing silly buggers with his life.
But as Bruce soon finds out, God (Morgan Freeman) has had enough of people tagging all of their setbacks on Him.
He tells Bruce – from halfway up a ladder – that ‘if You don’t like the job I’m doing, how about YEEEEOOOOOO DOOOOO ITTTTT??????
And with that God decides it must be the 7th Day again, and off he wanders for a quick rest.
After a quick experimentation period dispels any doubt as to the legitimacy of his new powers Bruce decides to harness his All Knowing, All Powerful self to make his own life better. He gets the job, wows the girl and has everyone in town wondering just who this magnificent specimen of manhood could possibly be.
Of course he finds his actions have unintended consequences, and that *GASP* being God has a mite more responsibility than he ever imagined.
As Spiderman himself once said, with great power comes… scads of CGI apparently. Most of the ‘laughs’ in Bruce Almighty are computer assistance, as with The Mask I guess, but Carrey’s own physical gifts are dulled just a little here. This means we have dogs sitting on the toilet reading a paper, the moon being dragged earthwards and a monkey flying out of – and in to – a thug’s butt. Come on Jim, Adam Sandler films can give me that crap! Remember Little Nicky?
Alas while it is easily digestible and amusing enough Bruce Almighty represents Jim Carrey at his least dangerous and daring. I mean Jennifer Aniston is in it for fuck’s sake, just how controversial can it be? In fact the blooper reels provides the most genuine laughs in the entire film, as Carrey ad-libs and goes way off script chasing genuine laughs.
Morgan Freeman is fine in a role built for him, meaning he only has to appear saintly and dignified, hardly a stretch. Aniston is there, Carrey is too. But in a film so saccharine, sweet and moral heavy this is all very much by the book.
Not that Book.
Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. Hardly awful, but a middling crowd pleaser from the man who once threatened to reinvent mainstream comedy.