Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bruce Almighty

Movie Name: Bruce Almighty
Year of Release: 2003
Director: Tom Shadyac
Stars: Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Anniston, Philip Baker Hall, Catherine Bell, Lisa Ann Walter, Nora Dunn, Steve Carell, Eddie Jemison, Paul Satterfield, Sally Kirkland
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 4
Watch it on Amazon

Director Tom Shadyac and actor Jim Carrey are a partnership shaped in success. Before "Bruce Almighty" premiered in 2003 to huge success, the team had already worked on "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" and "Liar, Liar". "Bruce Almighty" follows the premise that Bruce Nolan, a television reporter in Buffalo, NY, is profoundly unhappy with his life, despite his popularity and having a nice and supportive girlfriend. At one of his harshest and challenging days, Bruce rebels against God, who appears to Bruce, and grants him his powers. It's up to Bruce to handle God's responsibilities, and assess how he can do better.
Successful comedies manage to infuse every day actions and relationships with just enough satire to resonate with audiences and simultaneously entertain. At times comedies rely on slapstick, physical comedy to make a point across, and all those are things that Jim Carrey has perfected. He's a versatile performer, with enough depth to unveil the sadness behind the clownish fa├žade, but also with the physical prowess to go into Jerry Lewis' territory (something he proved early on in his career with "Dumb and Dumber" and "The Mask"). "Bruce Almighty" has a flimsy and forgettable concept - but it does have a fantastic performer at the top of his game, one that is able to infuse every single frame of the film with an energy that is captivating and ultimately very funny. This of course does not make for a memorable film, or even a good film - "Bruce Almighty" is mostly a showcase for how Jim Carrey takes his every day heroes, and makes something truly transformational out of those run of the mill characters. Whereas "Dumb and Dumber" for instance took the concept of road movie, to highlight the antics of two best friends adrift in the world, "Bruce Almighty" operates within the constraints of a romantic comedy, and it's watchable due to Jim Carrey and the always charismatic Morgan Freeman. Those two performers make this mediocre film worth a watch.