Bruce Almighty is a 2003 American religious comedy film directed by Tom Shadyac and written by Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe and Steve Oedekerk. The film stars Jim Carrey as Bruce Nolan, a down-on-his-luck television reporter who complains to God (played by Morgan Freeman) that he is not doing his job correctly and is offered the chance to try being God himself for one week. The film is Shadyac and Carrey's third collaboration, as they had worked together previously on Ace Ventura: Pet Detective in 1994 and Liar Liar in 1997. It co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Philip Baker Hall and Steve Carell.
|Directed by||Tom Shadyac|
|Music by||John Debney|
|Edited by||Scott Hill|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures (United States) |
Buena Vista International (International) 
|Box office||$484.6 million|
When released in American theaters on May 23, 2003, Bruce Almighty opened to mixed reviews from critics, but was a box-office success and grossed $85.9 million, making it the top Memorial Day opening weekend of any film in history at the time. The film surprised film pundits when it beat The Matrix Reloaded the following weekend. By the end of its theatrical run, the film had made $242 million domestically and a total $484 million worldwide, making it Carrey’s highest grossing film worldwide, as well as the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2003.
Bruce Nolan is a television field reporter for Eyewitness News on WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York, but desires to be the news anchorman. When Bruce is passed over for promotion by his rival, Evan Baxter, he becomes furious, his actions leading to his dismissal from the station, followed by a series of misfortunes. Bruce takes his anger out on God and complains that "He's the one that should be fired".
Bruce receives a message on his pager, which takes him to an empty warehouse where he meets God. God offers to give Bruce His powers to prove that he is doing the job correctly. God tells Bruce that he cannot tell others he has God's powers, nor can he use the powers to alter free will. Bruce is initially jubilant with the powers, using them for personal gain, such as exposing a womans panties, getting his job back, and impressing his girlfriend, Grace Connelly. Bruce finds ways of using his powers around Buffalo to cause miraculous events to occur at otherwise mundane events that he covers, such as discovering Jimmy Hoffa's body or causing a meteor to harmlessly land near a cook-off, earning him the name "Mr. Exclusive". Bruce then causes Evan to embarrass himself on-air, causing Evan to be fired in favor of Bruce as the new anchor. During this, Bruce continues to hear voices in his head. He later re-encounters God, who explains the voices are prayers, meant for God, that Bruce must deal with. Bruce creates a computerized email-like system to receive the prayers and respond but finds that the influx is far too many for him to handle —even though God has stated that Bruce is only receiving prayers from the Buffalo area— and sets the program to answer every prayer Yes automatically.
Bruce attends a party celebrating his promotion. When Grace arrives, she finds Bruce kissing his co-anchor, Susan Ortega, after she forcefully comes on to him, and quickly leaves. Bruce follows her, trying to use his powers to convince her to stay but cannot influence her free will. As Bruce looks around, he realizes that Buffalo has fallen into chaos due to his actions: parts of the city believe the Apocalypse is nearly upon Earth due to the meteor strikes, while a large number of people, all having prayed to win the multi-million dollar lottery and finding they all won reducing their prize to a few dollars, have started rioting in the streets. Bruce returns to God, who explains that He cannot solve all the problems and Bruce must figure out a way himself. Bruce then goes about helping people without using his powers, including giving Evan his job back. As Bruce reads through the prayers on his computer, he finds several from Grace, wishing for his success and well-being. As Bruce reads it, another prayer from Grace arrives, this one wishing not to be in love with him anymore.
Bruce is stunned and walks alone on a highway, asking God to take back his powers and letting his fate be in his hands. Bruce is suddenly hit by a truck and regains his consciousness in a white void. God appears, and He asks Bruce what he really wants; Bruce admits that he only wants to make sure Grace finds a man that would make her happy. God agrees, and Bruce finds himself in the hospital, where doctors have assisted in his recovery. Grace finally arrives. She and Bruce rekindle their relationship, later becoming engaged. Following his recovery, Bruce returns to field reporting, but decides to take more pleasure in off-beat news stories.
- Jim Carrey as Bruce Nolan
- Morgan Freeman as God
- Jennifer Aniston as Grace Connelly, Bruce's girlfriend
- Catherine Bell as Susan Ortega, Bruce's co-anchor
- Steve Carell as Evan Baxter (credited as Steven Carell), Bruce's rival
- Philip Baker Hall as Jack Baylor
- Lisa Ann Walter as Debbie Connelly, Grace's sister
- Paul Satterfield as Dallas Coleman
- Nora Dunn as Ally Loman
- Eddie Jemison as Bobby
- Sally Kirkland as Anita Mann
- Micah Stephen Williams as boy on bike
- Tony Bennett as himself
- Carlos Sánchez as Juan Valdez
- John Murphy as himself
- Madeline Lovejoy as Zoe
- Noel Gugliemi as Hector
Filming of Buffalo was done in the "New York Street" at Universal Studios Hollywood. The restaurant with Tony Bennett was filmed at Cicada, in the James Oviatt Building, downtown Los Angeles. The spa scene with Jennifer Aniston was filmed in the Shoin building at The Japanese Garden in Los Angeles.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a score of 48% based on 192 reviews, with an average rating of 5.64/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Carrey is hilarious in the slapstick scenes, but Bruce Almighty gets bogged down in treacle." On Metacritic, it has a score of 46 out of 100 , based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three out of four stars, calling it: "A charmer, the kind of movie where Bruce learns that while he may not ever make a very good God, the experience may indeed make him a better television newsman." Ebert praised Aniston's performance: "Aniston, as a sweet kindergarten teacher and fiancee, shows again (after "The Good Girl") that she really will have a movie career."
Variety's Robert Koehler gave the film a mixed review: "There's remarkably little done with a premise snatched from high-concept heaven, adding yet another file to the growing cabinet of under-realized comedies."
The film was banned in Egypt because of its portrayal of God as an ordinary man. Bans in both Malaysia and Egypt were eventually lifted after the nations' censorship boards gave the film their highest rating (18-PL in the case of Malaysia).
As God contacts Bruce using an actual phone number rather than one in the standard fictional 555 telephone exchange, several people and groups sharing this number received hundreds of phone calls from people wanting to talk to God, including a church in North Carolina, US (where the minister was named Bruce), a pastor in northern Wisconsin and a man running a sandwich shop in Manchester, England. The producers noted that the number (776-2323) was not in use in the area code (716, which was never specified on screen) in the film's story, but did not check anywhere else. For the home-video and television versions of the film, the number was changed to the fictional 555-0123.
A stand-alone sequel and spin-off titled Evan Almighty was released on June 22, 2007, with Steve Carell reprising his role as Evan Baxter and Morgan Freeman returning to his role as God. Although Shadyac returned to direct the sequel, neither Carrey nor Aniston was involved with the film, and Carrey's character Bruce is never mentioned in the film. The film was a critical and commercial failure.
|ASCAP Film and Television Music award||Top Box Office Films||John Debney||Won|
|ASCAP Film and Television Music award||Most Performed Song from a Motion Picture "I'm With You"||Graham Edwards
|BET Comedy award||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Box Office Movie||Morgan Freeman||Nominated|
|Black Reel award||Film: Best Supporting Actor||Morgan Freeman||Nominated|
|Golden Schmoes award||Most Overrated Movie of the Year||Nominated|
|Image award||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture||Morgan Freeman||Won|
|MTV Movie + TV award||Best Comedic Performance||Jim Carrey||Nominated|
|MTV Movie + TV award||Best Kiss||Jim Carrey
|MTV Movie award, Mexico||Most Divine Miracle in a Movie (for the chest of Grace)||Jim Carrey||Won|
|Nickelodeon Kid's Choice award||Favorite Movie||Nominated|
|Nickelodeon Kid's Choice award||Favorite Movie Actor||Jim Carrey||Won|
|People's Choice award||Favorite Comedy Motion Picture||Won|
|Teen Choice award||Choice Movie Actor - Comedy||Jim Carrey||Won|
|Teen Choice award||Choice Movie Actress - Comedy||Jennifer Aniston||Nominated|
|Teen Choice award||Choice Movie - Chemistry||Jim Carrey
|Bruce Almighty: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by |
John Debney, Various Artists
|Released||June 3, 2003|
The soundtrack was released on June 3, 2003 by Varèse Sarabande. Tracks 8-13 are from the score composed by John Debney, performed by the Hollywood Studio Symphony (conducted by Pete Anthony) with Brad Dechter and Sandy De Crescent.
- Track listing
- "One of Us" - Joan Osborne
- "God Shaped Hole" - Plumb
- "You're a God" - Vertical Horizon
- "The Power" - Snap!
- "A Little Less Conversation" - Elvis vs. JXL
- "The Rockafeller Skank" - Fatboy Slim
- "God Gave Me Everything" - Mick Jagger featuring Lenny Kravitz
- "AB Positive"
- "Walking on Water"
- "Seventh at Seven"
- "Bruce Meets God"
- "Bruce's Prayer"
- "Grace's Prayer"
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