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.
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.
|Jim Carrey||Bruce Nolan|
|Jennifer Aniston||Grace Connelly|
|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|
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.
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.
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