Review: “Bruce Almighty”

After all too long Jim Carrey returns to his roots with a very mainstream studio comedy which sad to say is surprisingly ordinary. ‘Bruce’ is one of those films with a killer concept – what if you could be God for one week.

The whole idea sets up numerous possibilities and yet much like say “Bedazzled” this film tends to keep things very unflashy and unimaginative – which kind of spoils the idea as I mean seriously if you had that power would you be worried about trying to impress your workmates or girlfriend? Hell no you’d be out there in the world having all sorts of wild fun.

Every now and then a real creative joke does come through though from a seductive bedroom scene to a tomato soup gag, but there’s just not enough – the best joke of the film in fact comes in the opening minutes involving some kids, a ‘Chariots of Fire’ running style Jim and a bucket of milk.

Carrey manages to pull off a performance which is able to show off his sheer manic energy but restrains him so that he never gets too goofy or over the top. In fact its his early pre-God scenes which are his best in the film as once he has the powers it becomes gimmicky.

Freeman also brings a nice warmth to a surprisingly underwritten ‘God’, whilst Jennifer Aniston tries hard with an essentially bland female love interest role. A big problem though is all the supporting cast from Jim’s rival workmate to his boss are just plain dull that many scenes which should be memorable or at least funny (eg. the newscaster screwing up) just aren’t.

Sentimentality manages to stay under control until the end when the film becomes cloyed up with it. A sense of bitterness and anger within Bruce in the early scenes is of course gone as he ‘sees the light’ and so as he becomes a do-gooder he also becomes a far less interesting character.

Running for a good 15 minutes longer than it should, the pacing does manage to move decently well, and Director Tom Shadyac knows how to handle comedy right but his previous work with Carrey in “Liar Liar” at least had more laugh out loud laughs even if it got sickly sweet beyond retching point. ‘Bruce’ is a decent enough time out at the cinema but its certainly not going to be considered a Jim Carrey classic in the future.