Jim Carrey took a little time off, but the
result is a below-average film that really didn’t seem to be sure
about what it wanted to be.
I say that because “Bruce Almighty”, which
opened over the weekend, is very funny in three or four scenes--I
mean, riotously funny--and many times tries to be too dramatic for
the people assembled in this picture. Strange, isn’t it? A film
whose best trailer jokes have Jennifer Aniston wondering if her
boobs are bigger, and the family dog taking a dump while reading the
newspaper in the bathroom...trying to be a drama, too? Directed by
the man who brought us “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”, “The Nutty
Professor” and “Liar Liar”??
Carrey plays Bruce Nolan, a Buffalo, New
York TV reporter who is frustrated with his lack of status, his
salary, his seemingly-dead end path. He does, though, have a great
girlfriend (Aniston) and an upcoming opportunity for promotion at
the station he currently calls his employer. Things don’t go his
way at the job, and when another reporter wins the open anchor spot
at the station, he chastises God for never getting any breaks...and,
to his surprise, God (Morgan Freeman) shows up in Buffalo in human
form and gives Bruce the chance to play God for a week to see just
how tough it is to give everyone what they want.
If only “Bruce Almighty” had stuck to its
guns and made a film where Carrey gets to play Bruce as a seven-day
fantasy where all he would do is what he does for the first 15
minutes of post-almighty-power endowment. He walks on water, he
gets revenge on a gang boss that had beaten him up earlier in the
film. He gets rid of his crappy old sports car for a Ferrari, and
he shows his girlfriend quite a romantic time one night back at
their apartment. I could have done a whole movie full of
that...but, as the film goes on, it stumbles repeatedly in trying to
go with a “boy meets girl—boy loses girl—boy gets girl back”
plotline with the two leads, and it features the All Time Stupidest
Whoops Moment in romantic films, when Bruce is kissed by a hot
anchorwoman (Catherine Bell, from “JAG”) AT THE EXACT MOMENT THAT
HIS CURRENT GIRLFRIEND WALKS INTO THE DOORWAY. I literally almost
got up and left the theater when this scene went down; can’t writers
come up with something more creative? So, of course, the girlfriend
walks off in tears, with Bruce following after her with predictable
“Honey, that didn’t mean anything!” and “Blah blah blah” and “This
movie is horseshit” type lines.
And on and on. The movie does have brief
moments of solid comedy, and one of the funniest scenes so far this
year that I have witnessed, a sequence where Bruce messes with his
rival at the station, Evan (Steven Carell, apparently of “The Daily
Show” although I don’t watch it), to hilarious results as Evan
struggles with the English language during a broadcast. Carrey is
generally likable even if the script is not, and as mentioned,
Catherine Bell gets enough exposure for you to remember her.
But, this is a solid entry into the “Most
Disappointing Summer Film of 2003” contest, with
“T3” only some
30-odd days away.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard