Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Tom Shadyac|
|Music by||John Debney|
|Edited by||Scott Hill|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures (USA) |
Buena Vista International (International) 
|Box office||$484.6 million|
Bruce Almighty is a 2003 American fantasy comedy film directed by Tom Shadyac and written by Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe and Steve Oedekerk. The film 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.
The film is Shadyac and Carrey's third collaboration, having previously worked together on Ace Ventura: Pet Detective in 1994 and Liar Liar in 1997. It co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Ann Walter, Philip Baker Hall and Steve Carell, and received mixed reviews from critics.
When released in American theaters on May 23, 2003, Bruce Almighty opened to $85.9 million, making it the top Memorial Day opening weekend of any film in history at the time. The film surprised film pundits when it beat The Matrix Reloaded the following weekend. By the end of its theatrical run, it made $242 million domestically and a total $484 million worldwide, making it the fifth highest-grossing film of 2003.
Bruce Nolan is a television field reporter for Eyewitness News on WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York but desires to be the news anchorman. When he is passed over for promotion by his rival, Evan Baxter, he becomes furious, his actions leading to his dismissal from the station, followed by a series of misfortunes. Bruce complains to God that "He's the one that should be fired".
Bruce later receives a message on his pager, directing him to an empty warehouse where God meets him. God offers to give Bruce his psychic powers to prove that He is doing the job correctly. God tells Bruce that he cannot tell others he has superpowers, nor can he use the powers to alter free will. Bruce is initially jubilant with the powers, using them for personal gain, such as by getting his job back and impressing his girlfriend Grace Connelly. Bruce 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 the name "Mr. Exclusive". Bruce then causes Evan to embarrass himself on-air, causing Evan to be fired in favor of Bruce as the new anchor.
During this time, Bruce continues to hear voices in his head. He later re-encounters God, who explains the voices are prayers, meant for 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 has 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 and his co-anchor Susan Ortega kissing, after she forcefully comes on to him, and quickly leaves. Bruce follows her, trying to use his powers to convince her 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: Parts of the city believe the Apocalypse is nearly upon Earth due to the meteor strikes, while a large number of people, all having prayed to win the multi-million dollar lottery and finding they all won reducing their price to a few dollars, have started rioting in the streets. Bruce returns to God, who explains that He can't solve all the problems and Bruce must figure out a way himself. 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 hit 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 recovered—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.
- Jim Carrey as Bruce Nolan
- Morgan Freeman as God
- Jennifer Aniston as Grace Connelly
- Philip Baker Hall as Jack Baylor
- Catherine Bell as Susan Ortega
- Lisa Ann Walter as Debbie Connelly
- Steve Carell as Evan Baxter (credited as Steven Carell)
- Nora Dunn as Ally Loman
- Eddie Jemison as Bobby
- Sally Kirkland as Anita Mann
- Micah Stephen Williams as boy on bike
- Tony Bennett as himself
- Carlos Sánchez as Juan Valdez
- John Murphy as himself
- Madeline Lovejoy as Zoe
- Noel Gugliemi as hood
Bruce Almighty received mixed reviews from critics. The film has a score of 49% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 189 reviews, with an average rating of 5.66/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Carrey is hilarious in the slapstick scenes, but Bruce Almighty gets bogged down in treacle". The film also has a score of 46 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". The film was released in the United Kingdom on June 27, 2003, and topped the country's box office that weekend.
The film was banned in Egypt, due to the portrayal of God as a visually ordinary man. Bans in both Malaysia and Egypt were eventually lifted after the censorship boards in respective countries gave it the highest rating (18-PL in the case of Malaysia).
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 church in North Carolina (where the Minister was named Bruce), a Pastor in Northern Wisconsin and a man in Manchester, England. 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 555-0123.
A spin-off/sequel, titled Evan Almighty, was released on June 22, 2007, 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 was involved with the film, and Carrey's character, Bruce, is never mentioned in the film. The sequel earned a 23% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 37/100 score on Metacritic.
Awards and nominations
|ASCAP Film and Television Music award||Top Box Office Films||John Debney||Won|
|ASCAP Film and Television Music award||Most Performed Song from a Motion Picture "I'm With You"||Graham Edwards
|BET Comedy award||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Box Office Movie||Morgan Freeman||Nominated|
|Black Reel award||Film: Best Supporting Actor||Morgan Freeman||Nominated|
|Golden Schmoes award||Most Overrated Movie of the Year||N/A||Nominated|
|Image award||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture||Morgan Freeman||Won|
|MTV Movie + TV award||Best Comedic Performance||Jim Carrey||Nominated|
|MTV Movie + TV award||Best Kiss||Jim Carrey
|MTV Movie award, Mexico||Most Divine Miracle in a Movie (for the chest of Grace)||Jim Carrey||Won|
|Nickelodeon Kid's Choice award||Favorite Movie||N/A||Nominated|
|Nickelodeon Kid's Choice award||Favorite Movie Actor||Jim Carrey||Won|
|People's Choice award||Favorite Comedy Motion Picture||N/A||Won|
|Teen Choice award||Choice Movie Actor - Comedy||Jim Carrey||Won|
|Teen Choice award||Choice Movie Actress - Comedy||Jennifer Aniston||Nominated|
|Teen Choice award||Choice Movie - Chemistry||Jim Carrey
|Bruce Almighty: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by |
John Debney, Various Artists
|Released||June 3, 2003|
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.
- Track listing
- "One of Us" - Joan Osborne
- "God Shaped Hole" - Plumb
- "You're a God" - Vertical Horizon
- "The Power" - Snap!
- "A Little Less Conversation" - Elvis vs. JXL
- "The Rockafeller Skank" - Fatboy Slim
- "God Gave Me Everything" - Mick Jagger featuring Lenny Kravitz
- "AB Positive"
- "Walking on Water"
- "Bruce Meets God"
- "Bruce's Prayer"
- "Grace's Prayer"
- "Seventh at Seven"
- God Tussi Great Ho
- Evan Almighty, a follow-up film starring Steve Carell instead of Carrey
- The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, a spin-off documentary television series starring Morgan Freeman
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