By Andrew Ross
When I first saw the trailer for Bruce Almighty, I thought, “This one could really go either way. It could be really funny or really lame.”
Luckily, it is the former and not the latter.
Despite a predictable plot, generic religious undertones and cliché moral lessons (actions have consequences, money and power can’t buy happiness, etc.) Bruce Almighty is really funny.
Morgan Freeman is typecast as God, again, but as with every film of his I’ve ever seen, he delivers a great performance. Jim Carrey is believable, funny and even manages not to go over the top in this film–a first if you don’t count The Majestic, which I don’t. At times, I even forgot he was the guy from Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber.
Finally, Jennifer Aniston, who plays Carrey’s girlfriend, really impressed me. I’ve never really been a fan of her work, but this time she takes what was surely a poorly thought out and one-dimensional goody two-shoes character and turns her into a convincingly real character. Neither she nor Carrey are batting at the same level as Freeman, but then who is?
Carrey’s passport notwithstanding, this is an all-American film set in Buffalo, New York and in the tradition of It’s A Wonderful Life. If they were to make a British version of this film: it would be set in a quiet middle-class English city; it would have Anthony Hopkins, Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley instead of Morgan Freeman, Jim Carrey and Jennifer Aniston; the local soccer team would replace the Buffalo Sabres; the gang members would be Cockneys instead of Latinos; and the toilet humour would be replaced with dry witticisms.
And the film wouldn’t be believable for a second.