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 Tom Shadyac
Jim Carrey
James D. Brubaker
Michael Bostick
Steve Koren
Mark O'Keefe
Screenplay by Steve Koren
Mark O'Keefe
Steve Oedekerk
Story by Steve Koren
Mark O'Keefe
Starring Jim Carrey
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Dean Semler
Editing by Scott Hill
Studio Spyglass Entertainment
Shady Acres Entertainment
Pit Bull Productions
Distributed by Universal Pictures
(Domestic)
Buena Vista International
(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 religious comedy film directed by Tom Shadyac, written by Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe, and Steve Oedekerk, and starring 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, which also launched Carrey's career, and Liar Liar.

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, 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 WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York, but desires to be the news anchorman. He is passed over for the promotion in favour of his co-worker and rival, Evan Baxter (Steve Carell). He rages during a live on-air interview which leads to his suspension from the station. He is then hit by a series of misfortunes including being assaulted by a gang of thugs, and crashing his Datsun 280Z. Bruce complains to God that He isn't doing His job correctly for him.

In response, Bruce receives a message directing him to an empty warehouse where God Himself (Morgan Freeman) appears. He first doesn't believe that He is God, until He pulls a trick to have 7 fingers on his hand and showing his personal file from a cabinet that goes for a mile. God offers Bruce His role to be God to see how God's job is tough, and tells him that he cannot tell anyone that he is God nor use the powers to alter free will, while God Himself will take a "vacation" from His work.

Bruce is initially jubilant and uses his newfound abilities for personal gain, such as impressing his girlfriend Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston) (including using an invisible rope to pull in the moon and create a romantic backdrop, unknowingly causing a tsunami in Kitamoto City in Japan as a result), taking revenge on the gang that assaulted him, and getting his job back, exchanging his Datsun for a Saleen S7, enlarging Grace's breasts, creating spectacular events while reporting on field (like locating the body of Jimmy Hoffa, creating a meteor blast right next to a festival which he is reporting), or making his dog use the toilet.

Also, Bruce exacts revenge against Evan, by altering the prompter to create awkward and illogical texts, making him fart, enhancing his voice to a really high pitch and forcing him to make gibberish sounds. This results in Evan being sent back to his reporting job and Bruce being installed as the new anchor. To celebrate, Bruce invites Grace out to the restaurant that they went to on their first date. Grace believes that he will propose to her and is very disappointed when he only informs her of his promotion.

Bruce begins hearing voices in his head that (at first) he cannot understand. God explains that the voices are prayers meant for God that Bruce must deal with. He also confronts Bruce on using his powers for personal gain and not for helping people. Bruce decides to try to help people and orders for all the prayers to become documents in drawers, which causes over 50 drawers to appear in his room. He also tries small notepads, but over a million appear in his room, so he sets a computer and an email system to respond, but after over millions of emails show up, he saves time by automatically responding to each email with Yes, without regard for consequences.

When Grace arrives at the party celebrating Bruce's promotion, she finds Bruce and his co-anchor Susan Ortega (Catherine Bell) kissing, after she had forcefully come on to him. Grace flees and Bruce follows her, but she refuses to believe it was a misunderstanding. As Bruce looks around, he realizes that the city has fallen into chaos due to his actions, since everybody in Buffalo has won the lottery, resulting in everyone winning only $17. Bruce returns to God and asks how people can all act this way after he gave them what they wanted. God gives Bruce some words of wisdom: "If you want to see a miracle, be the miracle." Bruce returns to his computer and unplugs the prayer system. He then resigns his job and proceeds to help people without using God's powers.

Grace's sister Debbie (Lisa Ann Walter) stops by to retrieve her things and sees how Bruce has changed. She informs him that every night Grace prays, and that usually it's for him. Bruce reactivates the prayer computer to search for Grace and finds many prayers asking for his success and well being. As he reads them, another prayer from Grace arrives, asking not to be in love with Bruce anymore.

Saddened, Bruce walks alone on a highway in a thunderstorm. He asks God to take back His powers and to remove his fate from his own hands. Bruce is suddenly struck by a truck and, upon regaining consciousness, finds himself in a white void (presumably Heaven). God appears, and asks Bruce what he really wants; Bruce says that he only wants to make sure that Grace finds a man who makes her happy.

God agrees to this situation, and Bruce finds himself miraculously alive, bruised, and bandaged in the hospital. Grace arrives and the two rekindle their relationship, later becoming engaged. After his recovery, Bruce returns to field reporting, but now takes more pleasure in the simple stories and interviews after realizing what his thoughts were.

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 out of 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 replying "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]

Sequels[edit]

On June 22, 2007, a 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, another sequel to Bruce Almighty was announced starring Jim Carrey.[10]

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 [11]

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"

References[edit]

External links[edit]