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Dan Heller's Movie Review of "Bruce Almighty"


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Jim Carrey
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Link To Movies/film-ratings.html Link To Movies/film-ratings.html There's nothing like a good comedy flick to lead in the summer, and Jim Carrey's, "Bruce ALMIGHTY!" is the best of its breed. It's formula, to be sure, and all been done before, but "Bruce" is funnier, wittier, smarter, and - odd as this might sound - more sophisticated than its predecessors. It's as though Carrey and his filmmaking partners refined the comedy/romance formula to a science, because this film does exactly what it intended to do: entertain.

Like previous Carrey films, "Bruce ALMIGHTY!" follows the familiar plot line where a down-on-his-luck guy gets a magical ability, fools with it for a while for fun and laughs, and after he goofs up and learns his big life lesson, walks away with the girl in the end. In fact, most Carrey comedies follow this story, most with director, Tom Shadyac at the helm. This time, Carrey plays Bruce Nolan, a TV reporter who always gets the humorous lifestyle stories, but never the big news stories that
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Jim Carrey
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will give him a future as an anchorman. True, he's great at his job, has a great girlfriend, and seems to enjoy life to the fullest. But, Bruce wants more out of life. His ambitions exceed his abilities, so bad things keep happening to him. When he finally breaks down in a bout of self-pity, he blames God for all his failures. God, in response, has a meeting with Bruce, and decides to give him all the powers that He, himself, possesses. With that, Bruce goes on a wild ride of performing magical acts and other deeds of self-indulgence to "right the wrongs" that he feels were done to him. Through a series of hilarious and well-crafted gags, complete with special effects, Bruce eventually makes the big mistake that makes him realize that being God isn't all that easy, and that he was perfectly happy with his life as it was.

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Morgan Freeman, Jim Carrey
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There is no question that any film that broaches the subject of God will noodle the zealots one extreme, or disgruntle the intellectual community on the other, unless it delivers poignant messages, or makes philosophically acute observations about the meaning of life. "Bruce" doesn't even attempt to address these tougher subjects; but it carefully inserts a couple one-line commentaries that make us unambiguously aware that yes, the filmmakers are avoiding the subject, and they know we're watching for it. This is done so well, in fact, that it's part of what makes the movie so appealing to a wide audience.

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Morgan Freeman
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As for Carrey himself, It's true that Jim's a unique actor, and he's shown capabilities far beyond the notorious over-the-top physical comedy he's best known for. But, his funny side is still where his genius lies, and he has traditionally fostered a relationship with a rather narrow audience because of his style. So, those who are not Jim Carrey fans might find it hard to bring themselves to see "Bruce ALMIGHTY!" But, I think they'd be surprised; his humor is less reckless, arbitrary, and irrelevant to the storyline. Instead, "Bruce" is funny largely because he remains within the framework and context of the story, supporting characters, and the persona he endows in his own character.

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Jim Carrey, Jennifer Aniston
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To that end, all the supporting actors are perfectly cast as well. Morgan Freeman depicts "God" exactly as I'd like to see Him, and Jennifer Aniston as Bruce's girlfriend makes her relationship with him all the more believable. I should also mention Steven Carell's role as a news anchor is tearfully hilarious in his own right. He came from Comedy Central's "The Daily Show", where he also played a TV reporter for a -hour show that spoofs the news nightly.

In the end, "Bruce ALMIGHTY!" succeeds in doing exactly what it intended to do, and works at every level. Even the use of a few four-letter words didn't seem inappropriate (it's rated PG-13). I'd say it's perfect for the whole family, and a refreshing way to start the summer.

You can find this movie on the internet database here: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0315327

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