Bruce Almighty

Bomb Rating: 

It's usually only after cashing a few big checks that Hollywood types get the urge to scream from the rooftops about the infallibility of the Lord. Thematically, this often comes in the form of a lesson to the rest of us: "Know happiness and generosity and you shall know God (and do not breach the gates of my estate looking for a handout, or else Chico, my minimum wage Puerto Rican security guard, will blow you away)."

This film is set in Buffalo, where the most demanding prayer God hears is "get my daddy a better job." Had the film been titled "Habib Almighty" or "Nguyen Almighty," requests of "Fix the cholera" or "Can we eat now?" might have been too much for Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey), a pissy news reporter who blames God for his problems one too many times and is temporarily deified by the Almighty (Morgan Freeman).

At first, Bruce uses his powers for greed, giving his girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston) bigger boobs and himself a coveted anchor spot. Then director Tom ("Patch Adams") Shadyac realizes he must justify his Hummer and gold-plated bidet, so he beats the audience senseless with the kind of moralistic guano one might associate with a Jimmy Swaggart revival.

In a devastating yet unintended self parody, Shadyac brings us a scene in which God tells Bruce that he was put on the Earth to make people laugh and that's okay. As a result, one imagines a God boiling over with vindictive anger as he -- like us -- is betrayed by the last 45 minutes of this fetid theology lesson.

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