Bruce (Carrey) is a goofy TV reporter in Buffalo with an eye on the anchor job. When it goes to his slimy rival (Carell), Bruce flips out and insults the heavens, which earns him in a face-to-face with God (Freeman), who lets Bruce have a go at running the cosmos if he thinks he can do it so well. Of course, the power goes to his head. Which doesn't impress his patient girlfriend (Aniston) very much.
Yes, the story has a Capraesque feel to it, and just to make sure we get it, the script includes Carrey lassoing the moon in one scene. And if we don't get that, they actually show the moon-lassoing scene from It's A Wonderful Life on a TV screen later on! In other words, Shadyac doesn't trust his audience at all. Even though Carrey tries to make Bruce a real, likeable (albeit madcap) character, Shadyac encourages him to shamelessly go over the top in the godlike scenes, which undermines the whole film.
Aniston and Freeman provide both dramatic weight and nicely comic touches, and the script is full of genuinely funny gags both broad (parting the red soup) and subtle (Bruce taking "just a closer walk" with God). But there are also some appallingly clunky ones (a prophetic hobo, the rising tide of Important Life Lessons), as well as a few truly awful special effects. Basically it feels like a feeble remake of a timeless classic. And like Robin Williams squinting, when Carrey starts whispering at the end we know we're in for unbearable levels of schmaltz.
dir Tom Shadyac
scr Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe, Steve Oedekerk
with Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston, Philip Baker Hall, Catherine Bell, Steven Carell, Lisa Ann Walter, Sally Kirkland, Nora Dunn, Eddie Jemison, Paul Satterfield, Tony Bennett
release US 23.May.03;
Walking on water: Freeman and Carrey.
"I think this movie is by far the funniest one Jim Carrey has ever made! It's a great story, and very cleverly made. And it was definitely a good thing for Morgan. He's always been one of my favorite actors; I loved him in Shawshank Redemption." --Christina, Texas 5.Jun.03
"I gotta say, I became a Jim Carrey fan when I saw The Mask - I truly liked that film and have enjoyed his others. The concept of this movie is predictable, maybe one that some have thought or dreamed of - personally, I never did - to be God for a day? Or just take over? On the one hand a lot of power, on the other hand a whole lot of responsibility. In this movie he gets the power but is unaware of the responsibility - period. It was fun to watch, enjoyable, but like I said predictable. You know in the end he will do the 'right thing'. But is that so bad? It made us laugh and entertained us for a while - so all in all, I would say it was a movie to see." --Laurie T, Minneapolis 13.Jun.03