2003-06-06 / Columnists

MovieScope By Robert Snyder ‘Bruce Almighty’ – Thy Kingdom Carrey

MovieScope By Robert Snyder ‘Bruce Almighty’ – Thy Kingdom Carrey

MovieScope By Robert Snyder
‘Bruce Almighty’ – Thy Kingdom Carrey


ROBERT SNYDERROBERT SNYDER

In his last two movies ("Mr. Majestic" and "Man on the Moon"), Jim Carrey wanted to be taken seriously. Now, he’s back to comedy – playing God.
 Directed by Tom Shadyac of "Ace Ventura" and "Liar, Liar" fame, "Bruce Almighty" is in many ways "The Mask" revisited: An underrated guy comes into possession of magical powers and wreaks revenge on his bullies. However, "Bruce Almighty" tries to be more than that. It wants to be taken seriously…at least in the end.

Box office-wise, it is being treated with the utmost seriousness, making
more than $86 million on Memorial Day weekend. Thank you, God, for rain.

The story focuses on TV newscaster Bruce Nolan (Carrey), who is frustrated by his dead-end career of doing puff pieces. "Bruce" begins with the celebration of the creation of Buffalo’s biggest cookie. Nolan is forced to wear a hairnet and put up with nose-picking and other nonsense from the cookie creators.

Back home with girlfriend Grace (Jennifer Aniston), Bruce acts out his
angst, railing against God for not giving him the big break. While doing a live broadcast from Niagara Falls, he learns that he’s been passed over for a long-coveted anchor spot. It leads to one of the film’s funniest scenes, with Bruce humiliating himself on the air in a bitter temper tantrum. Calling himself a victim, he points the finger of blame on the Big Boss Upstairs.

Before long, his cell phone is ringing even after it’s broken. Answering
the call, Bruce finds himself inside an abandoned building in a conversation
with a janitor dressed in white. This, of course, is God. Played by Morgan
Freeman, the role is more than believable. Freeman conveys the right element of down-to-earth wisdom that is out of this world. He’s simply sublime.

Ready for a long-awaited vacation, God gives the reigns of the universe
to Bruce to see how he likes the Supreme Responsibility. Acting supremely irresponsible, Bruce makes a monkey climb out (and back into) a bad guy’s butt, turns a rival anchorman into a blithering idiot on air and gives Grace the ultimate sexual experience. Also, he parts the "red sea" in his tomato soup and ropes the moon to bring it closer for romantic reasons.

But, things start to get "heavy," when prayers pour into his subconscious.

How to answer them? It’s more than his computer can download.

Overwhelmed, he throws them all together and responds with all-encompassing "Yes." The result is havoc on earth…particularly when everyone wins the lottery (to the tune of $17 each).

The movie ends with a bunch of old-fashioned Hollywood morals: Know
thyself and, therefore, solve your own problems. Or, leave God alone and let him handle the big stuff. Grabbing his mop, God tells Bruce to join him in some "liberating" manual labor. "There’s nothing you can’t clean up," he says.

With "Bruce Almighty," King of Comedy Carrey is certainly doing that at the box office.


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