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Bruce Almighty (2003)
Rated PG13

Starring: Jim Carrey, Jennifer Aniston, and Morgan Freeman

Rating:
**
out of
*****

Self-centered jerk Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) has everything in life that matters. He's got a good job, a great girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston), a loyal dog and a nice house. He, however, believes everything he has is mediocre and wants more. He is a reporter for a local TV station but he wants the newsanchor position, so he can make more money and buy better stuff. When he's passed over for the promotion, he goes on a tirade during a live broadcast and promptly loses his job. He complains that God is ignoring him because he doesn't get what he wants.

Thinking he's going to a regular job interview, Bruce meets God (Morgan Freeman), who offers him the chance to be God for awhile just to see how hard it is to have so much responsibility. God grants him all of his powers under two conditions: He can't tell anyone and he cannot affect free-will. Of course, this is a Jim Carrey movie, so getting God's powers means that there will be a lot of slapstick, physical humor, sexual innuendo and some urine jokes. Yawn.

I had managed to miss this film during its theatrical run but had heard that it was a laugh-riot from beginning to end. Well, maybe for someone who's never seen a Jim Carrey film before or someone who's never seen Oh, God! but not for me. I thought it was predictable and somewhat mean-spirited.

Jim Carrey, fresh from his "serious actor" mode which brought us some decent films like The Truman Show, Man on the Moon and The Majestic, apparently felt a need to revive his career since the serious films (with the exception of The Truman Show) tanked at the box-office. His last comedic role, as The Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, had him rendered virtually unrecognizable under several pounds of makeup and costume. Bruce Almighty features classic Jim Carrey but his style of physical humor has grown a little long in the tooth. The last time it worked was Liar, Liar and that was essentially the same movie. Here's the formula: Jerk needs to pay more attention to the truly important things in life. He gets affected by the supernatural. He learns a lesson. I guess if it worked in one film, why not try it again?

Is Bruce Almighty horrible? No, it's not. It's just we've seen this movie before. We've seen Jim Carrey do his shtick before (and better). For a rental, it's OK, but it's not as good as the box-office receipts would indicate and that's what disappointed me most.

Trivia: The town square is the same location that was used for parts 1 and 2 of the Back to the Future trilogy. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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