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 byTom Shadyac
Jim Carrey
James D. Brubaker
Michael Bostick
Steve Koren
Mark O'Keefe
Screenplay bySteve Koren
Mark O'Keefe
Steve Oedekerk
Story bySteve Koren
Mark O'Keefe
StarringJim Carrey
Music byJohn Debney
CinematographyDean Semler
Editing byScott Hill
StudioSpyglass Entertainment
Shady Acres Entertainment
Pit Bull Productions
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
(Domestic)
Buena Vista International
(International)
Release dates
  • May 23, 2003 (2003-05-23)
Running time101 minutes [1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$81 million[2]
Box office$484,592,874[2]
 
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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 byTom Shadyac
Jim Carrey
James D. Brubaker
Michael Bostick
Steve Koren
Mark O'Keefe
Screenplay bySteve Koren
Mark O'Keefe
Steve Oedekerk
Story bySteve Koren
Mark O'Keefe
StarringJim Carrey
Music byJohn Debney
CinematographyDean Semler
Editing byScott Hill
StudioSpyglass Entertainment
Shady Acres Entertainment
Pit Bull Productions
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
(Domestic)
Buena Vista International
(International)
Release dates
  • May 23, 2003 (2003-05-23)
Running time101 minutes [1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$81 million[2]
Box office$484,592,874[2]

Bruce Almighty is a 2003 American religious comedy film directed by Tom Shadyac, written by Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe, and Steve Oedekerk, and starring 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. This is Shadyac and Carrey's third collaboration after working together on Shadyac's first film, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, which also launched Carrey's career, and Liar Liar.

When released in American theaters in May 2003, it took the #1 spot at the box office, grossing $85.89 million - higher than the release of Pearl Harbor, making it the highest-rated Memorial Day weekend opening of any film in motion picture history (until the release of X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006).[3] The movie surprised media analysts when it beat The Matrix Reloaded after its first week of release. By the time it left theaters, it took in a United States domestic total of over $242 million and $484 million worldwide.[2]

Plot[edit]

Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a television field reporter for WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York, but desires to be the news anchorman. He is passed over for the promotion in favour of his co-worker and rival, Evan Baxter (Steve Carell). He rages during a live on-air interview which leads to his suspension from the station. He is then hit by a series of misfortunes including being assaulted by a gang of thugs and crashing his car. Bruce complains to God that He isn't doing His job correctly.

Bruce receives a message directing him to an empty warehouse where God (Morgan Freeman) appears. God offers Bruce His powers to prove that He is doing his job correctly. God tells Bruce not to tell others he has God's powers nor use the powers to alter free will. Bruce is initially jubilant and uses his newfound abilities for personal gain, such as impressing his girlfriend Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston) (including using an invisible rope to pull in the moon and create a romantic backdrop, unknowingly causing a tsunami in Kitamoto City in Japan as a result), taking revenge on the gang that assaulted him, and getting his job back.

Bruce then alters the news scripts, causing Evan to embarrass himself on-air. This results in Evan being sent back to his reporting job and Bruce being installed as the new anchor. To celebrate, Bruce invites Grace out to the restaurant that they went to on their first date. Grace believes that he will propose to her and is very disappointed when he only informs her of his promotion.

Bruce begins hearing voices in his head that (at first) he cannot understand. God explains that the voices are prayers meant for God that Bruce must deal with. He also confronts Bruce on using the powers for personal gain and not for helping people. Bruce creates a computerized email-like system to receive the prayers and respond. He finds that the influx is far too great for him to handle – even though Bruce is only receiving prayers from the Buffalo area. To save himself time, Bruce sets the program to automatically answer every prayer as Yes, without regard for the consequences.

When Grace arrives at the party celebrating Bruce's promotion, she finds Bruce and his co-anchor Susan Ortega (Catherine Bell) kissing, after she had forcefully come on to him. Grace flees and Bruce follows her, but she refuses to believe it was a misunderstanding. As Bruce looks around, he realizes that the city has fallen into chaos due to his actions. Bruce returns to God and asks how people can all act this way after he gave them what they wanted. God gives Bruce some words of wisdom: "If you want to see a miracle, be the miracle." Bruce returns to his computer and unplugs the prayer system. He then resigns his job and proceeds to help people without using God's powers.

Grace's sister Debbie (Lisa Ann Walter) stops by to retrieve her things and sees how Bruce has changed. She informs him that every night Grace prays, and that usually it's for him. Bruce reactivates the prayer computer to search for Grace and finds many prayers asking for his success and wellbeing. As he reads them, another prayer from Grace arrives, asking not to be in love with Bruce anymore.

Saddened, Bruce walks alone on a highway in a thunderstorm. He asks God to take back the powers and to remove his fate from his own hands. Bruce is suddenly struck by a truck and, upon regaining consciousness, finds himself in a white void (presumably Heaven). God appears, and asks Bruce what he really wants; Bruce says that he only wants to make sure that Grace finds a man who makes her happy. God agrees, and Bruce finds himself miraculously alive, bruised and bandaged in the hospital. Grace arrives and the two rekindle their relationship, later becoming engaged. After his recovery, Bruce returns to field reporting, but now takes more pleasure in the simple stories and interviews.

Cast[edit]

Reception and controversy [edit]

The film received mixed reviews, with a score of 48% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 184 reviews[4] and a weighted average score of 46 out of 100 on Metacritic.[5] It received a B rating at Box Office Mojo and a score of 6.6 on Internet Movie Database. Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score from 1 to 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gave the film a 46 based on 35 critics.[6]

Controversy[edit]

The film was banned in Egypt due to pressure from Muslims who objected to the portrayal of God as a visually ordinary man. Bans in both Malaysia and Egypt were eventually lifted after the Censorship Board gave it the "18PL" rating (suitable for adult viewers only for a combination of two or more of the given parental ratings).[7][8][9] Also, 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 pastor from Wisconsin who would reply to the question "are you God" by replying "No, but I can take a message." 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.[10]

Sequels[edit]

On June 22, 2007, a sequel to Bruce Almighty entitled Evan Almighty was released, 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, though Carrey's character, Bruce, is mentioned in the film's teaser trailer. The sequel was not as well received as the predecessor, with a 23% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a rating of 37/100 on Metacritic.

On January 12, 2012, another sequel to Bruce Almighty was announced starring Jim Carrey.[11]

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 [12]

The soundtrack was released on June 3, 2003 by Varèse Sarabande. Tracks 9-14 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.

Tracklist
  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. "Vertical 69"
  11. "Bruce Meets God"
  12. "Bruce's Prayer"
  13. "Grace's Prayer"
  14. "God's Prayer"
  15. "Seventh at Seven"

References[edit]

External links[edit]