By Fred Topel | Images property of Universal Pictures.
Evan Almighty is 100% exactly what I expected. No big belly laughs but a light enough comedy to pass the time. It's all animals and pratfalls, but it's inoffensively entertaining.
Movie Review: Evan Almighty
Bruce got all the powers of God to learn his lesson. Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) gets a mission. God (Morgan Freeman) commands him to build an ark for an impending flood. So animals start following him around and he starts growing a bible beard so everyone thinks he's crazy. Kinda seems like a bum deal.
The charm of the film rests solely on Steve Carell. Scenes that don't have any jokes in them are peppered with dancing, grooming and mugging. Carell is just so likeable you can't hate on him for prancing around. Perhaps his exacerbated reactions ground the ridiculous antics in some level of reality.
They repeat a joke from Bride of Chucky only with Ark Building instead of voodoo. A 40-Year-Old Virgin reference feels like a painful stretch. The unshaveable beard is from The Santa Clause. His screams of agony aren't as funny as those in Virgin either.
There are some wonderful magical elements of the biblical story sprinkled throughout the cheap laughs. The references to Genesis 6:14 popping up, the gopher wood reference and it seems like God really would be like Morgan Freeman: irreverent, contradictory, but fun. It's kind of freaky too, when Freeman pops up everywhere.
Supporting actors provide individual laughs. Jonah Hill creates an entire subplot with scattered lines in only a few scenes. It looks like they just put Wanda Sykes in a room by herself and told her to react to stuff.
I happened to like Bruce Almighty a lot. I love fantasy comedies with personal messages and I thought it was meaningful with some prime Jim Carrey material too. Evan has a less profound message, though it's there, and certainly less edge to the humor. But it's nice and short, a breezy 80-some minutes. It's hard to get too offended by that.