I wondered as I sat watching this film what God would be thinking as he was sitting up there seeing Evan Almighty. Would he be insulted? Or would he just sigh as he shook his head mumbling, “Well, I did give them free will, I guess they are not wholly to blame…”. I also wondered if the studio executives were wondering the same thing about seemingly giving director Tom Shadyac (Bruce Almighty, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective) free reign on the budget. Reportedly the film, due to all the special effects and animal sequences, cost upwards of $175 million dollars, which is fine for a summer action flick, but a comedy? I’m not so sure this was part of the divine plan. It might have made more sense if the sequel to the successful Bruce Almighty would have starred Jim Carrey, but with Steve Carell? He has had some film and television success, but he’s still not a major name like Jim Carrey or Tom Cruise that warrants this type of huge monetary investment. But, hey, it’s not my money, is it?
How much money they spent on the film is not the major problem. The big problem with the film is that it is not that funny. There are a few funny moments, but based on the fact that Steve Carell, Wanda Sykes and a bunch of animals are in it, there are not nearly as many as I had hoped. The film actually was awkwardly preachy at times and I did not know how to take that. At times I was uncomfortable with the overbearingness of the message. We all know that something has to be done about the state of the planet, environmentally and morally, but this is not the fare for a light summer comedy. The message is pounded home with the same sledgehammer that Evan uses to build the ark. Yes, the world would be a better place if we all did more random acts of kindness, but the whole religious aspect was a little heavy handed for a summer comedy film. I don’t contend that a comedy cannot have a message, but it should primarily be funny and Evan Almighty is short on the yuks.
That is not to say that there was nothing good about the film. Morgan Freeman is his usual great self. He is perfect as God and I don’t say that lightly. Casting him in this role is inspired. As God he is majestic and you really believe in his omnipotence. He brings much integrity to the role and the film. Also strong, are many of the scenes with the animals. The effects are great and you just scratch your head wondering how they got the animals to do these things. Visually stunning is the scene with all the animals there two by two all at once. Breathtaking!
Just as God promised man he would not inflict a flood on us again maybe we should get the makers of this film series to promise never to do one again. I am not holding my breath for ‘Sarah Almighty’…hmmm…or am I?
Evan Baxter (Steve Carell – from television’s The Office) is a newsanchor at a Buffalo, New York television station. His life is about to change in ways he could not even imagine and it is not because he is now in politics. Evan has won the state election and is now the state’s representative in Congress. He moves his wife, Joan (Lauren Graham – from television’s The Gilmore Girls) and three boys, Dylan (Johnny Simmons – appeared in an episode of Numb3rs), Jordan (Graham Phillips – appeared in episodes of The King of Queens and Judging Amy) and Ryan (Jimmy Bennett – Poseidon, Firewall) to an affluent neighbourhood in Virginia and moves his staff into the White House. The new Congressman is very excited to get started fulfilling his campaign promise of changing the world. Soon enough the call to change comes from the most unlikely source from Evan’s perspective. God (Morgan Freeman – Kiss the Girls, Seven) appears to Evan and asks him to build an ark.
Not being a particularly religious man, Evan just believes a crazy person is stalking him. When it becomes apparent that the man following him around is really God, Evan assumes the task and begins to build his ark. Now a U.S. Congressman who starts to build a large ark, is followed around by two of many species of animals, grows a huge white beard, and wears a flowing brown robe is not something you see everyday. Even Evan’s family begins to believe that he has lost it. At work his two main staff members, Rita (Wanda Sykes – Monster-In-Law, My Super Ex-Girlfriend) and Marty (John Michael Higgins – Best in Show, The Break-Up), are perplexed as their boss seems to be blowing his opportunity to get in on an important bill with the powerful Congressman Long (John Goodman – from television’s Roseanne). Once he has started building the ark, Evan cannot stop. Even if it means he is jeopardizing his new job and putting his relationship with his family at risk.
-The Ark-itects of Noah’s Ark
-Steve Carell Unscripted
-Animals on Set Two by Two
-Acts of Random Kindness
-A Flood of Visual Effects
-Casting Call: Serengeti
-The Almighty Forest
-The Almight Green Set
-It’s Easy Being Green Outtakes
-Animal Roundup Game