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 in May 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.
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.
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 instead. Bruce is in a relationship with his girlfriend, Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston), but he also has a mild crush on his co-worker, Susan Ortega (Catherine Bell). However, Bruce suffers from constant bad luck and reaches his breaking point when he is passed over for promotion by his rival, Evan Baxter (Steve Carell), who later steals dialogue from an unaired segment by Bruce while accepting the promotion on air. This causes Bruce himself to aggressively and insanely criticize the station during his first live report, and he is promptly fired. Following a series of other misfortunes (getting beaten up by a group of street thugs who vandalize his car, and later plowing his car into a street post), Bruce takes out his frustration on God, 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 (Morgan Freeman). 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 getting revenge on the street gang that assaulted him earlier, transforming his clothes and his damaged car into a Saleen S7 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, and causing a meteor to harmlessly land near a Mark Twain-themed chili cook-off. Bruce, still wanting the anchor position as well as wanting to get revenge on Evan Baxter for taunting him, uses his powers to make Evan humiliate himself on air, causing Evan to be replaced in favor of Bruce as the new anchor.
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. 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, potty training his dog properly, and allowing Evan to have his job back.
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.
God appears and tells Bruce to pray for what he truly wants; Bruce prays for Grace to find someone that sees and loves her the way he does. God agrees, and Bruce awakens in the hospital, shortly after being miraculously revived by the doctors. Grace arrives and the two immediately reconcile. After his recovery, Bruce returns to his field of reporting, now taking more pleasure in simple news stories. Bruce and Grace announce their engagement on live television during a "Be the Miracle" blood drive. A homeless man, holding a sign with philosophical messages that Bruce had ran into on previous occasions, finally reveals himself to be God.
- Jim Carrey as Bruce Nolan
- Morgan Freeman as God
- Jennifer Aniston as Grace Connelly
- Lisa Ann Walter as Debbie Connelly
- Philip Baker Hall as Jack Baylor
- Steve Carell as Evan Baxter (credited as Steven Carell)
- Catherine Bell as Susan Ortega
- Sally Kirkland as Anita Mann
- Nora Dunn as Ally Loman
- Eddie Jemison as Bobby
- 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 188 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 (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 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.
Awards and Nominations Edit
|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
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"