Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bruce Almighty

I think the best thing about Jim Carrey may be his unwavering ability to control any scene he's in, whether it's comedic or dramatic. Bruce Almighty (Tom Shadyac, 2003) contains both of these elements. At all times throughout the film my attention is given entirely to Carrey. That may be because of the ridiculousness of his display as a mortal-turned-god, but I'm gonna give him the benefit of the doubt and attribute it to his scene control skill.

Even in the scenes with the great Morgan Freeman and, at this point, a relatively unknown Steve Carell, there is no doubt in my mind as to who the true star is. Jim Carrey uses this to his advantage in a film where anything less would have resulted in a flub.

Carrey's antics provide more than enough entertainment to buffer shoddy performances and plot. I mean I'm giving a lot of my imagination to this film as it is, but I find it ridiculous that no one questioned all the good fortune that follows Carrey. That, along with a sub-par performance from Jennifer Aniston as the love interest result in several moments of perplexity. Aniston seems almost uninterested at points and her emotional scenes just seemed whiney to me.

It is in times like these where Carrey and Shadyac work together to create hilarious moments and quotable lines which, ultimately, make the film enjoyable. Having previously worked together on Liar Liar (Shadyac, 1997) and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (Shadyac, 1994), there is a clear chemistry between the two as Carrey is always shown at his funniest.

A moment in which this connection shines is right after Carrey comes to the realization that he has the powers of God. He is walking down the street, galavanting to the tune of "The Power" by Snap! They combine Carrey's humorous sound effects with, wait for it, a chick getting her skirt blown up by the wind. It's these moments of pure fun and enjoyment that keeps this film from sinking.

Ultimately, Bruce Almighty is a funny film. Not hilarious, certainly not a classic comedy, but funny enough to laugh every few minutes and leave the viewer satisfied. A topic with as many potential stories as a man getting God's powers is hardly going to fail. I just feel, in the end, that Carrey's charisma and fearlessness in front of the camera are what made it successful at all. And that's the way the cookie crumbles.


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