|There are some sparks of the hilarious Jim Carrey we all know and love in his latest face-morphing performance in Bruce Almighty. Endowed with the powers of god, the simple set-up and execution for the film allow for much of that classic Jim Carrey banana-peel humor to entertain the audience. But there are a few too many spots in the film where it seems the tires have been retread once too often and it feels like, "oh, we're doing this again, are we?" While Carrey's on screen pranks might cause the audience to roar with laughter on more than one occasion, there are some specific elements that could have been "beefed up" to make the film seem more unfamiliar.|
But with the opening strains of the "classic" sounding film score (classic meaning a dead rip-off of Liar Liar and like films) and the familiar way the film jumps into its narrative, divining what's to come at the end of this film is too easy a task. While expecting the story to be just a trampoline on which Jim Carry can pounce, there comes a time in every actor's life when he must demand more from his material. Or in this case, the screenplay. No matter how much of Jim Carrey's performance was improvised versus how much of it was written before the film started shooting, it's just too obvious in every moment of the film where the plot is headed.
Interestingly, this might not be so much the fault of the screenwriters (though they should share some blame) as the fault of Carrey himself. The production company responsible for Bruce Almighty, Universal Pictures, probably bought the screenplay knowing it would simply be an outlet for Jim Carrey's talents. But there just aren't enough jokes. One of Carrey's earlier films, such as Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, might not have owned the most creative screenplay, but Carrey milked enough comedy out of that story to keep the audience laughing for hours after the movie ended.
Although the comedy could be considered more mature in Bruce (though there still remains a few scenes involving dog excrement), Carrey needed to let his insanity loose for this part. But criticisms on the ratio of jokes to screen time aside, Carrey is still responsible for some very entertaining bits. And while too many of them show up in the trailer and are thus spoiled for the audience, this film will still be entertaining for most audiences. But there will come a point when viewers (and ticket buyers especially!!) realize that they've seen this story played out exactly the same, countless times before and will demand something new.
Perhaps this film should carry the warning: "You've seen this before, but it will probably entertain you anyway." Jim Carrey just has an innate ability to make any given situation hilarious, and though he is not in top form in this film, it is still an improvement from his more dramatic outing in The Majestic. But that is not to say that Carrey doesn't have the ability for serious drama. After all, he was very effective in The Truman Show, and in Bruce Almighty he seems as equally sincere during the more serious moments of the film (of which there are a few).
Perhaps what the filmmakers were attempting with this movie was the creation of a vehicle starring Jim Carrey which wouldn't tax the audience's brains and would leave them emotionally satisfied by the end of the film. We know how the movie's going to end - and seeing it end that way might be what some audience members need to see. Knowing how "Bruce's" relationship with girlfriend, "Grace" (played by Jennifer Aniston in a role that neatly distances herself from her "Friends" persona) will end is probably not the point of viewing this film. And an invigorating performance by Morgan Freeman, who plays a very witty God, wouldn't be the sole reason for attending this film either, no matter how entertaining Freeman makes his performance.
The real reason for attending this film is the mad-cap performance and jokes perpetrated by Carrey. That's why the film was green-lit in the first place. And given that elements such as the supporting performances were well-done and the production values were as professional as one would expect them to be, viewers of this film will be treated to a film which probably rates as a seven on the Jim Carrey scale of comedic outings. He has done funnier work in the past surely, but Bruce Almighty is far from the worst he's done. In fact, it crosses the line into hilarity more than once. Bruce Almighty is a mostly entertaining farcical comedy that will entertain, but not wow its viewers.
Review by Kelsey Wyatt.