Bruce Almighty

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Bruce Almighty
A man with the world attached to his finger by a piece of rosary
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tom Shadyac
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Steve Koren
  • Mark O'Keefe
Starring
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Dean Semler
Edited by Scott Hill
Production
company
Distributed by Universal Pictures
(Domestic)
Touchstone Pictures
(International)
Release dates
  • May 23, 2003 (2003-05-23)
Running time
101 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $81 million[2]
Box office $484,592,874[2]

Bruce Almighty is a 2003 American comedy film directed by Tom Shadyac, written by Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe and Steve Oedekerk and stars Jim Carrey as Bruce Nolan, a down-on-his-luck TV reporter who complains to God (Morgan Freeman) that he is not doing his job correctly, and is offered the chance to try being God himself for one week. This is Shadyac and Carrey's third collaboration after working together on Shadyac's first film, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, in 1994 and Liar Liar in 1997.

When released in American theaters in May 2003, it took the #1 spot at the box office, grossing $85.89 million-- higher than the release of Pearl Harbor, making it the highest-rated Memorial Day weekend opening of any film in motion picture history (until the release of X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006).[3] The movie surprised media analysts when it beat The Matrix Reloaded after its first week of release. By the time it left theaters in December 2003, it took in a United States domestic total of over $242 million and $484 million worldwide.[2]

Plot[edit]

Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a television field reporter for Eyewitness News at WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York, but desires to be the news anchorman. He is in a healthy relationship with his girlfriend Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston), but also has a mild crush on his co-worker, Susan Ortega (Catherine Bell), who barely seems to notice him. Bruce however continues to suffer unfortunate events and it reaches his breaking point when he is passed over for promotion by his rival, Evan Baxter (Steve Carell), who then steals dialogue from Bruce's segment in accepting the promotion on-air. Bruce becomes furious and aggressively criticizes the station during his first live report (culminating with calling them "fuckers"), leading to his dismissal from the station. Following a series of other misfortunes, Bruce complains that God (Morgan Freeman) is "the one that should be fired."

Bruce later receives a message on his pager, directing him to an empty warehouse where he meets God. God offers to give Bruce His powers to prove that He is doing the job correctly. God tells Bruce that he cannot tell others he has God's powers, nor can he use the powers to alter free will. Bruce ignores God and is initially jubilant with the powers, using them for personal gain, such as training his dog to use the toilet, chasing away thugs by spewing out a swarm of hornets, and sexually impressing Grace. Bruce also finds ways of using the powers to cause miraculous events to occur at otherwise mundane events that he covers, such as discovering Jimmy Hoffa's body or causing a meteor to harmlessly land near a cook-off, earning him his job back. Bruce then uses his powers to cause Evan to make a fool out of himself on-air, causing Evan to be fired in favor of Bruce as the new anchor.

After taking Grace to a fancy dinner and telling her he made anchor (angering her, as she thought he was going to propose), Bruce begins to hear voices in his head. He re-encounters God, who confronts Bruce on using his powers for personal gain and not helping people. He also explains that the voices are prayers to God that Bruce must deal with. Bruce creates a computerized email-like system to receive the prayers and respond, but finds that the influx is far too great for him to handle -- even though God had stated that Bruce is only receiving prayers from the Buffalo area -- and sets the program to automatically answer Yes to every prayer.

Bruce attends a party celebrating his promotion. When Grace arrives, she finds Bruce being seduced and kissed by Susan, and quickly leaves. Bruce follows Grace, but she is heartbroken and will not listen to him. He tries to use his powers to convince Grace to stay but cannot influence her free will. As Bruce looks around, he realizes that the city has fallen into chaos due to his actions. Bruce returns to God, who explains that He can't solve all the problems, and that Bruce must figure out a way to solve it himself. Bruce then begins to solve his problems in life practically, such as helping a man whose car broke down across the street, training his dog normally, and allowing Evan to have his job back. Bruce returns to his computer system and goes about answering prayers as best he can. As he reads through them, he finds a prayer from Grace, wishing for Bruce's success and well-being. As he reads it, another prayer from Grace arrives, this one wishing not to be in love with Bruce anymore.

Bruce is stunned and walks alone on a highway, asking God to take back His powers and letting his fate be in His hands. Bruce is suddenly struck by a truck, and regains consciousness in a white void. God appears and asks Bruce what he really wants; Bruce admits that he only wants to make sure Grace finds a man that would make her happy. God agrees and Bruce finds himself in the hospital, shortly after being revived -- near miraculously -- by the doctors. Grace arrives and the two rekindle their relationship, with Bruce and Grace later becoming engaged. After his recovery, Bruce returns to his field reporting but takes more pleasure in the simple stories. Bruce and Grace announce their engagement on live TV. The film ends with the beggar who Bruce had previously ran into on various occasions finally revealing himself to be God.

Cast[edit]

Reception and controversy [edit]

The film received mixed reviews, with a score of 48% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 184 reviews[4] and a weighted average score of 46/100 on Metacritic.[5] It received a B rating at Box Office Mojo.

Controversy[edit]

The film was banned in Egypt due to pressure from Muslims who objected to the portrayal of God as a visually ordinary man. Bans in both Malaysia and Egypt were eventually lifted after the Censorship Board gave it the "18PL" rating (suitable for adult viewers only for a combination of two or more of the given parental ratings).[6][7][8] Also, since God contacts Bruce using an actual phone number rather than a number in the standard fictional 555 telephone exchange, several people and groups sharing this number subsequently received hundreds of phone calls from people wanting to talk to God including a pastor from Wisconsin who would reply to the question "are you God" by saying "No, but I can take a message." The producers noted that the number (776-2323) was not in use in the area code (716, which was never specified on screen) in the film's story but did not check anywhere else. The home video and television versions changed it to the fictional 555.[9][10][11]

Sequels[edit]

On June 22, 2007, an independent sequel to Bruce Almighty entitled Evan Almighty was released, with Steve Carell reprising his role as Evan Baxter and Morgan Freeman returning to his role as God. Although Shadyac returned to direct the sequel, neither Carrey nor Aniston were involved with the film, though Carrey's character, Bruce, is mentioned in the film's teaser trailer. The sequel was not as well received as the predecessor, with a 23% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a rating of 37/100 on Metacritic.

On January 12, 2012, a direct sequel to Bruce Almighty was announced starring Jim Carrey.[12]

Soundtrack[edit]

Bruce Almighty: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by John Debney, Various Artists
Released June 3, 2003
Genre Soundtrack
Label Varèse Sarabande
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars [13]

The soundtrack was released on June 3, 2003 by Varèse Sarabande. Tracks 8-13 are from the score composed by John Debney, performed by the Hollywood Studio Symphony (conducted by Pete Anthony) with Brad Dechter and Sandy De Crescent.

Tracklist
  1. "One of Us" - Joan Osborne
  2. "God Shaped Hole" - Plumb
  3. "You're a God" - Vertical Horizon
  4. "The Power" - Snap!
  5. "A Little Less Conversation" - Elvis vs. JXL
  6. "The Rockafeller Skank" - Fatboy Slim
  7. "God Gave Me Everything" - Mick Jagger featuring Lenny Kravitz
  8. "AB Positive"
  9. "Walking on Water"
  10. "Bruce Meets God"
  11. "Bruce's Prayer"
  12. "Grace's Prayer"
  13. "Seventh at Seven"

Adaptations[edit]

God Tussi Great Ho
Vaah! Life Ho To Aisi

References[edit]

External links[edit]