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Bruce Almighty

Bruce Almighty is a 2003 American comedy film, directed by Tom Shadyac and starring Jim Carrey. The film was written by Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe, and Steve Oedekerk. It co-stars Morgan Freeman and Jennifer Aniston. The supporting cast includes Steve Carell, Catherine Bell, Lisa Ann Walter, and Philip Baker Hall. Tony Bennett makes a cameo appearance.

The film follows Bruce Nolan, a down on his luck TV reporter who seeks a promotion and a better life overall. After a series of bad incidents, such as being beaten while helping a homeless person, Nolan complains that God can't do His job properly. He is surprised when he is met by God himself and granted his powers for a week to see if he can do a better job.

When the film was released in American theaters in late 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 over Memorial Day 2006. The movie surprised media analysts when it beat The Matrix Reloaded after its first week of release. By the time it left theaters in December 2003, it took in a United States domestic total of over $242 million and $484,572,835 worldwide, breaking records as the seventeenth highest-grossing live action comedy of all time.

Plot

Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a TV news reporter for the American Broadcasting Company affiliate television station (WKBW-TV) news team, Channel 7 Eyewitness News in Buffalo, New York who is unsuccessful at getting a job as an anchorman and, after a series of other bad luck incidents, complains to God that He is both treating him (Bruce) unfairly and is doing a poor job as supreme deity. Bruce is then contacted by God (Morgan Freeman), who grants Bruce all of His power so as to prove which one is the better handler thereof. Bruce quickly uses his new-found powers for personal gain: he sabotages a colleague named Evan, who cheated him; takes revenge on a street gang who badly beat him up earlier in the film; transforms his car from a Datsun 240Z to a Saleen S7; allows his favorite hockey team, the Buffalo Sabres, to move to the Stanley Cup; places command on a dog to use the toilet for defecation; and enhances his girlfriend's breasts and sex drive. He is then reminded that he has the task of resolving other people's problems. Meanwhile, Bruce endangers his relationship with his girlfriend Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston) through his self-centered behavior. Ultimately Bruce realizes that God's powers are best left for God to handle and graciously asks God to take control of his life.

The movie portrays God as a wise but a very elderly man. God quotes a line from one of Carrey's other movies ("Alrighty then", from Ace Ventura), and tells Bruce that if he wants, Bruce can fix all the world's problems in a few minutes, knowing full well from eons of experience that he cannot. Bruce later receives millions of prayers, all of which, according to God, originate only from a few streets in his own town. Bruce is thus able to realize just how much work God must do to keep creation "in line".

Bruce then begins to use his powers with more discretion: he examines prayers properly and does not grant all; apologizes to Evan and grants him the position in their work that both had desired; helps a homeless man who has appeared to him at times to convey philosophical speeches; assists a man whose car has broken down by helping him push it to work (after which the man says "God bless" to Bruce), and toilet-trains the aforementioned dog without using spiritual intervention. Moments later, Grace's sister Debbie cites a difference in the two siblings' routines, whereof the most significant comment is to the effect that Grace is often immersed in prayer. During that day's evening, as Bruce is receiving prayers he looks for one sent by Grace. Upon finding one, he uses his power to discover that she adores him, but wishes to cease the emotion on grounds that she perceives herself as a threat to him and wishes not to be so.

Depressed, Bruce walks onto a highway and is killed by collision with a truck. He is then shown in Heaven, where God asks him "what he really wants". In answer, Bruce asks that Grace find a man who may make her truly happy and see her through God's eyes. At this, God brings Bruce back to life. Later, Bruce has returned to his earlier field of reporting and is content with it; donates blood for a transfusion; and becomes engaged to marry Grace. The ending scene features a slow close-up picture of the homeless man, who is revealed to have been God in disguise. This echoes a line of Joan Osborne's song, One of Us, which Bruce is shown singing after his acquisition of the divine power.

Cast

Actor Role
Jim Carrey Bruce Nolan
Jennifer Aniston Grace Connelly
Morgan Freeman God
Lisa Ann Walter Debbie Connelly
Philip Baker Hall Jack Baylor
Steve Carrell Evan Baxter
Catherine Bell Susan Ortega
Sally Kirkland Anita Mann
Nora Dunn Ally Loman
Eddie Jemison Bobby

Controversy and reception

  • The movie was banned in Egypt and Malaysia due to pressure from Islamic religious circuits who objected to the portrayal of God as a visually ordinary man. The ban in Malaysia was 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).
  • In Iran, the movie was interpreted in the light of Twelver Shiism—the predominant branch of Islam practiced in the country. The appearance of Morgan Freeman's character at the end echoes the prophesied return of the 12th Imam.
  • The movie received rather mixed reviews (49% on Rotten Tomatoes and an average of 46 out of a 100 on Metacritic.com). The film took nearly $243 million at the box office, making it Jim Carrey's most successful film since 2000's How the Grinch Stole Christmas (also released by Universal).
  • The film parodies Yahoo! into Yahweh, the Jewish name for God. Bruce creates the system to organize incoming prayers into emails.
  • Robert Bausch, the author of "Almighty Me", contends that his book was the creative source for this film.

Telephone numbers

The film caused controversy because God contacts Bruce, via pager, using an actual phone number rather than a number in the standard fictional 555 telephone exchange. The original telephone number was 776-2323. No area code was included. Several people and groups sharing this number have received hundreds of phone calls from people wanting to talk to God. Some of the calls went to a church located in Sanford, North Carolina, whose pastor happened to be named Bruce. A church in Georgia also happens to use this number. This was also the cellphone number of the pastor of a church in Mercer, Wisconsin. The number even turned out to be valid in Greater Manchester in England.

The producers noted that the number chosen was not in use in the Buffalo, New York (area code 716) area wherein the film is set, but did not check anywhere else. The DVD and television versions changed the display of the pager to 555-0123. In some closed captions, the original line is left in the film, but it is dubbed out in the audio.

Sequel

On June 22, 2007, Evan Almighty was released, film stars Steve Carell reprising his role as Evan Baxter, and Morgan Freeman reprising his role as God. Although Bruce Almighty director Tom Shadyac returned to direct the sequel, neither Jim Carrey nor Jennifer Aniston, co-stars of the first film, were involved with the second.

Inspiration

The station at which Bruce Nolan works, WKBW-TV, is in fact a real station, and the movie featured one of the station's former sports intro graphics. However, a different news set, theme song, and news opening graphics were used instead of the Move Closer to Your World package used by WKBW at the time, and only one real WKBW-TV anchor actually appeared in the film: John Murphy, the sports anchor better known as the play-by-play voice of the Buffalo Bills. Carrey lived in southern Ontario during his childhood, during WKBW's "Irv, Rick and Tom" era in which the station was widely popular in Canada, and WKBW's real-life feature reporters, Don Polec (now at WPVI-TV) and Mike Randall (now WKBW's chief meteorologist) were said to be inspirations for the character of Bruce Nolan. Evan Baxter was said to be based on current WKBW lead anchor Keith Radford.

WKBW's rival station in the movie was "Channel 5," a station that used the logos of WKBW's sister station, WTVH, which is not in Buffalo but in Syracuse. It is believed that the movie's producers tried unsuccessfully to get permission to use WIVB-TV (channel 4), WKBW's real-life rival, in the film, and inserted WTVH in as a substitute.

Recently, a Bollywood rip-off, God Tussi Great Ho, was realeased on August 15, 2008. It starrs Amitabh Bachan, Salman Khan, Sohail Khan, and Priyanka Chopra. Amitabh Bachan plays the role of Morgan Freeman, and Salman Khan plays the role of Jim Carrey. It is an almost exact copy of Bruce Almighty.

Soundtrack

Original Release Date: June 3, 2003
Number of Discs: 1
Format: Soundtrack
Label: Varese Sarabande

  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
  8. "I'm With You" - Avril Lavigne
  9. "AB Positive" - Hollywood Studio Symphony, Brad Dechter, Sandy De Crescent
  10. "Walking on Water" - Hollywood Studio Symphony, Brad Dechter, Sandy De Crescent
  11. "Seventh at Seven" - Hollywood Studio Symphony, Brad Dechter, Sandy De Crescent
  12. "Bruce Meets God" - Hollywood Studio Symphony, Brad Dechter, Sandy De Crescent
  13. "Bruce's Prayer" - Hollywood Studio Symphony, Brad Dechter, Sandy De Crescent
  14. "Grace's prayer" - Hollywood Studio Symphony, Brad Dechter, Sandy De Crescent

References

External links

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