Bruce Almighty is a 2003 American fantasy 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, 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.
When released in American theaters in May 2003, it took the #1 spot at the box office, grossing $85.9 million—higher than the release of Pearl Harbor, making it the second-highest-rated Memorial Day weekend opening of any film in motion picture history (until the release of X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006). The film surprised film pundits 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. Evan Almighty, a spin off sequel focusing on Carell's character, with Shadyac and Oedekerk returning to direct and write, and Freeman also reprising his role, was released in 2007, to overall negative reviews.
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 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, suffers from constant bad luck and reaches breaking point when he is passed over for promotion by his rival, Evan Baxter (Steve Carell), who then steals dialogue from an unaired segment by Bruce while accepting the promotion on air.
This causes Bruce to aggressively and insanely criticize the station during his first live report and mock-congratulate Evan and is promptly fired. Following a series of other misfortunes, Bruce takes out his frustration on God (Morgan Freeman), blaming Him and claiming that He is "the one who 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 job to see if Bruce can do a better job. God gives Bruce two rules that he must follow: Bruce cannot tell anyone else that he is God and Bruce cannot use his powers to interfere with free will. Initially, Bruce becomes jubilant with the powers, using them for personal gain such as having his dog use the toilet, getting revenge on a street gang that assaulted him earlier, transforming his damaged car into an expensive sports car 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 the body of Jimmy Hoffa, earning him his job back, or causing a meteor to harmlessly land near a cook-off. Bruce then uses his powers to cause Evan to humiliate himself on air, causing Bruce to be promoted to anchor position while Evan gets fired.
After taking Grace to a fancy dinner and telling her about his promotion (disappointing her, as she thought he was going to propose), Bruce begins to hear voices in his head. He re-encounters God, who explains that the voices are prayers to God, and that Bruce must deal with them. Bruce creates an e-mail system to receive prayers and respond to them - but finds that the influx is far too great for him to handle, even with the use of his powers. So he sets the program to automatically answer "Yes" to every prayer, thinking this will make everyone happy.
During a party to celebrate Bruce's promotion, Susan seduces and kisses him. When Grace arrives and sees this, she angrily storms out; Bruce follows her, but she is heartbroken and won't listen to him. He tries to use his powers to convince Grace to stay, but cannot influence her free will (causing his relationship with her to get mocked by Susan). As Bruce looks around, he realizes that automatically granting everyone's prayers has plunged the city into chaos. Bruce returns to God, who explains that despite how chaotic things seem, there is always a way to make things right, 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 has broken down, training his dog properly, and allowing Evan to have his job back (and actually congratulating him, in contrast to his fake congratulation earlier).
Bruce returns to his computer system, having briefly unplugged it, and he finds many prayers from Grace about Bruce. As he reads them, another prayer from Grace arrives, this one wishing not to be in love with Bruce anymore. A despondent Bruce 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 (heaven).
God appears and tells Bruce to pray for what he truly wants; Bruce prays for Grace to find a man that would make her happy. God agrees and Bruce finds himself in the hospital, shortly after being miraculously revived by the doctors. Grace arrives and the two reconcile. After his recovery, Bruce returns to his field of reporting, but takes more pleasure, in simple stories. Bruce and Grace announce their engagement on live television. The film ends with the homeless man Bruce had ran into on various occasions turning into God, who claps the film off.
Bruce Almighty received mixed reviews from critics. The film has a score of 48% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 184 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10. 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, and a Pastor in Northern Wisconsin. 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 were involved with the film, and Carrey's character, Bruce, is never mentioned in the film. The sequel was not as well received as its predecessor, with a 23% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 37/100 score on Metacritic.
On January 12, 2012, another sequel to Bruce Almighty was announced, again starring Jim Carrey. This project appears to be on hold, however, as the latest information is from 2012.
|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.
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