Bruce Almighty Review

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Despite having just about as perfect a life as it's possible to have, TV news reporter Bruce Nolan thinks God has it in for him. To show him how absurdly blessed he really is, God gives him omnipotent power.


This is Bruce Nolan: an affluent guy with an astonishingly undemanding job in the media, a beautiful apartment in a spotless backlot neighbourhood, and a doting girlfriend who looks like Jennifer Aniston. And all he does is bitch to the man upstairs about how crappy his life is. We're actually supposed to care about this ungrateful prick? Well, it's a good job he's funny. There are, in fact, few comic actors around who can touch Carrey when he's on solid, high-concept ground - and there's a limited number of altitudinous adjectives available to describe the dizzying heights of this concept: Carrey plays God. Ker-ching!

Projecting a soft-pedaled version of his stock Ace Ventura character, he mines the set-up for all its worth. And thanks to canny writing and snappy direction, he's given plenty to work with, creating a miniature Red Sea scenario in a bowl of soup and exacting revenge on a gang member dumb enough to utter, "When monkeys fly out of my butt."

But while the laughs come thick and fast, it's difficult to find the film anything like as charming as it thinks it is. For a start, you can't help feeling that, rather than granting such an over-privileged yuppie whiner supreme power, any self-respecting deity might teach him a lesson with some good old fashioned smiting. Getting bogged down in theology would, perhaps, ruin the fun. But then, so does a pervading aura of smugness and an over-arching conviction that, not only does God exist, he fully endorses the aspirations of rich, white, self-satisfied Americans whose prayers are primarily concerned with their stock portfolios.

Ask yourself this: if you were in Bruce's shoes, after you'd whisked up a few girls' skirts, taught your dog to pee in the toilet, changed your car into a Ferrari and made your girlfriend's tits bigger, wouldn't you - as he conspicuously doesn't - spare a thought for the blind homeless person who hangs out in front of your office?

With Carrey on top form and some highly inventive sight gags, it's the proverbial laugh riot. But the assumption that God is as wholesomely all-American as apple pie and election fraud casts an uneasy pall over the movie.