Bruce Almighty (12A)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner18/06/2003

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 101 mins

Average comedy with several good gags – Carrey is good, but it’s just a shame the film didn’t aim a little higher.

High concept Jim Carrey comedies are a strange thing – people seem to either love them or hate them, with equal amounts of passion. Bruce Almighty (aka “Jim Carrey is God”), however, isn’t really up there with the likes of The Mask, Dumb and Dumber or even Liar, Liar (the film it most closely resembles) and even the most die-hard Carrey fans will be hard-pressed to find anything to rave about, though it definitely has its moments.

Paged By God

The plot couldn’t be simpler. Carrey plays Bruce Nolan, a TV reporter stuck covering human interest stories like ‘The World’s Biggest Cookie’. Despite his gorgeous apartment and even more gorgeous girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston), Bruce decides that The Man Upstairs has it in for him and rails against him in anger.

Whereupon God (Morgan Freeman, which should come as a surprise to no-one) pages (yes, pages) Bruce and endows him with God-like powers for a while. With hilarious results. (What, you might ask, was wrong with a good old-fashioned Smiting?).

The trailer, unsurprisingly, gives away most of the best gags (the parting of the Red Sea Soup in particular) but not all of them. One in particular is an inspired, stationery-related visual gag that is perhaps the funniest joke in the film.

Hit And Miss

Basically, Bruce Almighty wants to be It's A Wonderful Life (explicitly referenced twice in the film) meets Groundhog Day, except they only really got as far as the pitch ("Jim Carrey IS God! He has God-like powers!") and didn't bother with a decent storyline or an emotional pay-off. Someone should have made them watch Groundhog Day a few hundred times.

Jennifer Aniston is good, as always, but doesn't really have much to do. Worse, she spends a lot of the time crying and praying, which is not a good look.

Her funniest scenes are the sex scenes (Bruce uses his God-like Powers to make himself a Love God – well, you would, wouldn’t you?) and the "You know, I think my breasts are bigger" scene from the trailer. Which gives you some idea of the level of sophistication here, really.

It's a shame, because with a bit more thought, this could have been something special. Bruce doesn't even bother trying to solve any of the world's problems, and even creates a few which he doesn't seem to care about. Plus, he doesn’t even bother curing the sight of the blind guy outside his office…

In short, this is probably only really worth watching if you’re a Jim Carrey fan. It has more than enough good gags, and several good lines, but is slightly disappointing overall.

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Content updated: 20/10/2017 18:44

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