Evan Almighty Movie Review
As everyone, their aunt and their pet fish knows by now, Evan Almighty is the most expensive comedy ever created, and one of the biggest flops. While it did eventually reach $100 million domestically just a couple of weeks ago (four months after its initial release), Evan had production costs estimated at $175 million, a ridiculous sum for a stupid movie that clearly wouldn't come close to that mark.
Evan Almighty is, of course, a sequel to the hit Jim Carrey movie Bruce Almighty, a relatively funny comedy that opened to $85 million on its way to a domestic gross of $250 million. That movie had a lot of things going for it: Carrey was at the height of his comedic appeal, the concept was unique and the movie looked funny. Skip ahead several years and you have another film prone to take off: a comedy starring rising star Steve Carrell that features the return of Morgan Freeman as God. It had potential.
Unfortunately, this is one time where a completely new direction in a sequel really didn't work out. Whereas the first movie was about a news reporter given the power of God, which opened up all kinds of possibilities for hilarious antics for Carrey to play with, the second movie does not grant Carrell any special powers or the ability to make his wife's breasts grow larger. Instead, he is essentially cursed - er, I mean tasked - with building an Arc. Recently elected to Congress, he finds his life turned upside down when he starts to grow an uncontrollable beard, his suit magically turns into Noah's robes, animals start following him everywhere and God forces him to look crazy as he must warn of an impending flood.
Unlike Bruce Almighty, Evan Almighty is clearly catering to the religious crowd, as almost all of the laughs have been replaced with loose religious doctrine. It's not funny and instead is just frustrating, as Evan gets himself in one situation after another where he has to make up absurd stories to explain why he's covered in bird shit, and it's just more cringe-inducing than anything else. Whereas God taught Jim Carrey a lesson by giving him extraordinary powers that he could do with what he wanted, God teaches Steve Carrell a lesson by forcing him to do an absurd project and ruin his reputation in the process. It's not fun to watch, really.
There are only a couple laughs in Evan Almighty, and that's certainly not enough. It's a shame to see Carrell (and Freeman for that matter) so wasted, as he has to resort to slapstick comedy such as hitting himself in the head with a hammer to try to evoke laughs. His talent is about as underutilized as I've ever seen it done upon anyone. Director Tom Shadyac and writer Steve Oedekerk, who also directed and wrote Bruce respectively, have turned a complete 180 with this one.
On top of everything else, it's hard to see where the $175 budget went. The costs appear to have gone entirely to the special effects involved with creating animals and the flood at the end, but I've seen better special effects in Babe, and I'm sure that didn't cost that much to make. The flood scene rivals some disaster films, but even still shouldn't have cost more than a few million to make. Basically, Evan Almighty looks like a $50 million film; couldn't the rest of the money been spent on feeding the poor?
Oh, and the movie completely ignores the fact that God floods Washington, D.C., conceivably killing hundreds of thousands of people. Interesting.
Evan Almighty is a disaster of a film. It isn't that hard to watch as it moves along at a well enough pace, but it just isn't funny to any degree.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.