Bruce Almighty might be Jim Carrey’s last good comedy. Since then, he hasn’t even really done much in that genre. Like most of his work in the ’90s, we watch his movies to see him. It doesn’t necessarily matter what the film is about, as long as it involves Carrey doing Carrey things.
In Bruce Almighty, Carrey is doing just that. While he isn’t quite as loose of a cannon like in The Mask or Dumb and Dumber, he’s about as wild as can be without his character becoming unbelievably unrealistic–which would have done this particular film a disservice, since it actually attempts to say something.
Though its main focus is to present a fun what-if premise. If God decided to put all of his responsibilities on a mere mortal for a few weeks, what would the outcome be? After Bruce Nolan (Carrey), a news reporter gets fed up with constantly missing out on opportunities for an anchor position at the network, he blames God for his “misfortunes” without clearly seeing that the position he has in the first place is better than thousands of aspiring reporters get. Bruce isn’t ever really likable, but he gets even worse.
His egoism starts to impact his job at the station, as well as his relationship with his serious girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston). So God, played by Morgan Freeman, decides to teach Bruce a lesson by giving him his powers. Which makes him more egotistical at first, but then starts to see the effects of his power. It helps him out with his job, but makes his relationship with his girlfriend turn sour.
As obvious as his conceit should have been, it’s a little too subtle for this movie. We see Carrey being wild and crazy so often, so we forget that it’s not normal for a regular person to be this over-the-top cocky. When Aniston gets frustrated by his self-centeredness, we have to stop and realize that perhaps he HAS been acting that way, and it’s for a purpose other than Jim Carrey being Jim Carrey.
Bruce Almighty perfectly fulfills all of the what-if scenarios, but doesn’t land the moral lesson quite as hard as it probably should. Bruce’s a-ha moment isn’t distinct enough. It doesn’t feel like he’s gone through enough change when he finally does.
But the film is very entertaining and Carrey and Aniston have great chemistry together. Her relaxed demeanor never tries to match Carrey’s absurdity.
It will make you laugh just as much as any Jim Carrey movie. But even though you have to commend it for trying to provide for us a life lesson, it ends up not really giving us much to really chew on.