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 byTom Shadyac
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Steve Koren
  • Mark O'Keefe
Starring
Music byJohn Debney
CinematographyDean Semler
Edited byScott Hill
Production
company
Distributed byUniversal Pictures (United States)
Buena Vista International (International) [2][3]
Release date
  • May 14, 2003 (2003-05-14) (Hollywood)
  • May 23, 2003 (2003-05-23) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes[4]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$81 million[5]
Box office$484.6 million[5]

Bruce Almighty is a 2003 American religious 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 (played by 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 worked together previously on Ace Ventura: Pet Detective in 1994 and Liar Liar in 1997. It co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Philip Baker Hall and Steve Carell.

When released in American theaters on May 23, 2003, Bruce Almighty opened to mixed reviews from critics, but was a box-office success and grossed $85.9 million, making it the top Memorial Day opening weekend of any film in history at the time.[6] The film surprised film pundits when it beat The Matrix Reloaded the following weekend. By the end of its theatrical run, the film had made $242 million domestically and a total $484 million worldwide, making it Carrey’s highest grossing film worldwide, as well as the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2003.

Evan Almighty, a spin-off sequel focusing on Steve Carell's character, with Shadyac and Oedekerk returning to direct and write, and Freeman also reprising his role, was released on June 22, 2007. However, it was a critical and commercial failure.

Plot[edit]

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 Bruce is passed over for promotion by his rival Evan Baxter, he becomes furious, with 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 receives a message on his pager that leads him to an empty warehouse where he meets God. God offers to give Bruce his powers to prove that he is doing the job correctly. God tells Bruce that he cannot tell others that he has God's powers, 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 his powers around Buffalo to cause miraculous events 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 the air, and Evan is fired in favor of Bruce as the new anchor. Bruce continues to hear voices in his head. He later encounters God again, who explains that the voices are prayers, meant for God, with which Bruce must deal. Bruce creates a computerized email-like system to receive and respond to the prayers, but finds there are far too many messages for him to handle, even though God has stated that Bruce is only receiving prayers from the Buffalo area, and Bruce sets the program to answer every prayer "Yes" automatically.

Bruce attends a party celebrating his promotion. When Grace arrives, she finds Bruce kissing his co-anchor, Susan Ortega, 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 Buffalo has fallen into chaos as a result of his actions. Parts of the city believe the apocalypse is soon to come because of meteor strikes, and many people, all having prayed to win the multimillion dollar lottery only to find that their prize is nearly worthless, have started rioting in the streets. Bruce returns to God, who explains that He cannot solve all the problems and that Bruce must figure out a way himself. Bruce returns to his computer system at his home and goes about answering prayers as best he can. As Bruce reads through them, he finds a prayer from Grace, wishing for his success and wellbeing. As Bruce reads it, another prayer from Grace arrives, this one wishing not to be in love with him any more.

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 his consciousness in a white void. God appears, and He asks Bruce what he really wants; Bruce admits that he only wants to make sure that Grace finds a man who makes her happy. God agrees, and Bruce finds himself in the hospital, where doctors help him recover. Grace arrives, and she and Bruce finally rekindle their relationship and later become engaged. Following his recovery, Bruce returns the anchor position to Evan and goes back to his field reporting, but decides to take more pleasure in the simple stories.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a score of 48% based on 192 reviews, with an average rating of 5.64/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Carrey is hilarious in the slapstick scenes, but Bruce Almighty gets bogged down in treacle."[7] On Metacritic, it has a score of 46 out of 100 , based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews..[8]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three out of four stars, calling it: "A charmer, the kind of movie where Bruce learns that while he may not ever make a very good God, the experience may indeed make him a better television newsman." Ebert praised Aniston's performance: "Aniston, as a sweet kindergarten teacher and fiancee, shows again (after "The Good Girl") that she really will have a movie career."[9]

Variety's Robert Koehler gave the film a mixed review: "There's remarkably little done with a premise snatched from high-concept heaven, adding yet another file to the growing cabinet of under-realized comedies."[10]

The film was released in the United Kingdom on June 27, 2003 and topped the country's box office that weekend.[11]

Controversy[edit]

The film was banned in Egypt because of its portrayal of God as an ordinary man. Bans in both Malaysia and Egypt were eventually lifted after the nations' censorship boards gave the film their highest rating (18-PL in the case of Malaysia).[12][13]

As God contacts Bruce using an actual phone number rather one in the standard fictional 555 telephone exchange, several people and groups sharing this number 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 running a sandwich shop in Manchester, England.[14] 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. For the home-video and television versions of the film, the number was changed to the fictional 555-0123.[15][14]

Sequel[edit]

A sequel and spin-off 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 film was a critical and commercial failure.

Accolades[edit]

Association Category Nominee Results
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
Avril Lavigne
Won
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 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
Jennifer Aniston
Nominated
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 Nominated
Nickelodeon Kid's Choice award Favorite Movie Actor Jim Carrey Won
People's Choice award Favorite Comedy Motion Picture 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
Morgan Freeman
Nominated

Soundtrack[edit]

Bruce Almighty: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
John Debney, Various Artists
ReleasedJune 3, 2003
GenreSoundtrack
LabelVarèse Sarabande
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars [16]

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
  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. "Seventh at Seven"
  11. "Bruce Meets God"
  12. "Bruce's Prayer"
  13. "Grace's Prayer"

Adaptations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Frequently Asked Questions". Jim Carrey Online. Archived from the original on February 27, 2009. Retrieved February 18, 2009.
  2. ^ "BVI hits milestones with Pirates, Bruce Almighty". ScreenDaily. Archived from the original on January 13, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  3. ^ "BVI goes over the top o'seas". Variety. Archived from the original on January 13, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  4. ^ "BRUCE ALMIGHTY (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 2003-05-22. Retrieved 2012-01-13.
  5. ^ a b "Bruce Almighty (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. Archived from the original on 2010-04-08. Retrieved 2010-04-05.
  6. ^ "Bruce Blesses Memorial Weekend with $85.73 Million". Archived from the original on 2006-06-14. Retrieved 2006-05-31.
  7. ^ "Bruce Almighty". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 2020-08-17. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  8. ^ "Bruce Almighty". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2010-08-23. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (May 5, 2003). "Bruce Almighty movie review & film summary (2003)". Chicago Sun-Times.
  10. ^ Koehler, Robert (23 May 2003). "Bruce Almighty". Variety.
  11. ^ "Weekend box office 27th June 2003 - 29th June 2003". www.25thframe.co.uk. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Middle East Online". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  13. ^ "Malaysian Muslims call for ban on movie, AFP, Fri July 13, 2007". Archived from the original on December 7, 2008.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  14. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2015-01-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Man 'shares God's phone number'". Archived from the original on 2007-05-14. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
  16. ^ Phares, Heather. "Review: Bruce Almighty: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 August 2009.

External links[edit]