The Man Who Sued God
3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
the man who sued god This lively and engaging comedy centres on a typical Australian theme: the simple man against the big system (The Castle is another great example). Steve Myers (Connolly) is an ex-lawyer enjoying his life as a fisherman in a small town nearby his daughter (Browning) and his ex-wife (Hughes), whose new partner Les (Venn) owns a trailer park ... and the Steve's boat-loan guarantee. But their simple life is shattered by a lightning bolt that destroys the boat and leaves Les liable, simply because the insurance company claims that as an act of God the loss isn't covered. So Steve reregisters as a lawyer and sues God himself for the damage, trying to make a point about greed and real faith. A Sydney journalist (Davis) picks up the story and turns Steve into a hero for the people, ruffling a lot of feathers along the way.

Watson's script keeps things bouncy and entertaining, even as he works overtime to maintain a balanced approach to the more serious religious and social issues the story raises. These heavy themes never overtake the film, and in some ways they're underdeveloped, but it can't have been easy to write through this minefield! Even the supercilious "villain" lawyer (Brown) is interesting, as are the heads of the four main religions who are called upon to defend the case. There's the nagging feeling of a romantic comedy sprouting up, but it helps to have terrific actors like Connolly and Davis to deliver the dialog--off-the-cuff, bracingly natural performances by actors who aren't afraid to appear imperfect, and as a result let us identify with them much more than most slickly produced Hollywood movies. What emerges is a great story told in a breezy and very funny style that somehow survives every attempt to overcook the plot (family crises, encroaching brush fires, romance and even some magical realism). Yes, it's a bit corny in the end, but it's also wonderfully enjoyable.

cert 12 themes, language 9.May.03

dir Mark Joffe
scr Don Watson
with Billy Connolly, Judy Davis, Colin Friels, Bille Brown, Wendy Hughes, Blair Venn, Emily Browning, John Howard, Vincent Ball, Frank Whitten, Peter Whitford, Linal Haft
release Australia 25.Oct.01; UK 22.Aug.03
01/Australia 1h42

Father and daughter. Steve and Rebecca (Connolly and Browning) chat before he leaves to take on the bad guys...

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R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... the man who sued god Shell, Liverpool: "This film is so funny! In places the storyline is a bit weak, carried along by the magnificent Billy Connolly. I laughed for days afterwards - some of the scenes are so funny. The ending is a bit corny and Steve and Anna make an odd couple. But I 100% recommend it - if you need a laugh I have never seen a film more simply hysterical!" 23.Sep.03
2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall