Movie Review: Bruce Almighty (2003)

TitleBruce Almighty
Release Date: 12 February 1993
Director: Harold Ramis
Production Company: Columbia Pictures

I didn’t choose this movie, but I gave it a fair shake.  Jim Carrey plays Buffalo tv reporter Bruce Nolan who seeks to move away from fluffy segments to an anchor position.  But after a day of miserable bad luck – and learning that his rival was promoted to anchor instead of him – Bruce takes his anger out on God.  And so God (played by Morgan Freeman, of course) decides to let Bruce take over His work while he goes on vacation.

Bruce starts off by causing mischief and doing pervy things like making a woman’s skirt fly up (although I’ll have to confess that I chuckled when Bruce literally made a monkey fly out of a bully’s butt).  Then he uses his powers to create dramatic news events that he is onsite to cover for the local news thus enabling himself to move into the coveted anchor spot.  But his increasing self-centered behavior drives away his long-suffering girlfriend (played by Jennifer Aniston) and he’s overwhelmed by trying to answer prayers.  This leads to the formulaic part of this movie where Bruce learns a Very Valuable Lesson about life and love.

I find myself kind of surprised that this movie came out as recently as 2003.  For one thing, it feels like a mid-90s screwball comedy built to capitalize on the popularity of Groundhog Day (complete with an selfish tv reporter gaining superhuman powers and then Learning a Very Valuable Lesson).  For another, I thought after more nuanced, comedy-drama performances in The Truman Show and Man on the Moon (and soon to come in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) that Jim Carrey had moved on from broad dreck like this.  I guess not.

This is obviously not my kind of movie, but I think Carrey and the rest of the cast can do better. Despite a handful of good laughs, this movie wasn’t worth watching.

Rating: *1/2