Review: Evan Almighty
PLOT: It seems God is back and he needs some dude to take on Noah’s duties and build an ark. The dude in question is a newly elected Congressman who takes a little convincing from the Almighty by way of a bunch of animals to realize that a flood is coming… along with a nice family friendly message about God, love thy neighbor and being environmentally conscious. Save the earth and say your prayers…
What does a movie marquee with the title “The Forty Year Old Virgin Mary”, Jon Stewart and end credits with the cast of ALMIGHTY EVAN getting funky have in common? They are the only mildly amusing moments in an uneven and unnecessary sequel to the Universal hit BRUCE ALMIGHTY. Although Jim Carrey has moved on, paving the way for the wonderfully talented Steve Carell. Yet here, as Evan, the materialistic and slightly vain (when it comes to nose hair) Congressman, he feels familiar and dull. When we first meet Evan and his bland and sitcom ready family, he is moving to a beautiful new house and an exciting new job under a big shot politician, another wonderfully talented yet horribly wasted actor, John Goodman as Congressman Long. Long takes interest in Evan and is offering him whatever it takes to get some kind of development bill passed. As Evan continues to take priority in his work over his family with his busy schedule, his lovely wife, another talent wasted, Lauren Graham tells him he should pray for what he wants. And what he wants is to “change the world”. And yes, he prays. So God, being the humorous sort, comes and keeps sending animals and wood Evans way so he will build an ark.
There are many things wrong with this film. First of all, it’s just not funny. I didn’t laugh once. I smiled at some joke that Jonah Hill made. He plays one of Evan’s employee’s who seems to have some kind of weird, hero, man-crush on his boss. He's pretty funny here. I also smiled at a Jon Stewart cameo, who plays Jon Stewart on The Daily Show… good casting there. But what I didn’t laugh at was the one-note jokes played throughout. You know, animals continually following Evan around yet everyone just thinks he’s a strange guy, never mind the multiple beasts and birds that surround him. I also didn’t laugh at the overused and unbelievably annoying montage sequences (yes, there are many) about Evan and family building the ark. And I didn’t laugh at Wanda Sykes hip references to Fen-Phen and a few other “timely” jokes. Fen Phen and Rogaine? Do people still talk about that crap? This is not Ms. Sykes fault, she is funny but the material leaves much to be desired. She did have a few moments and you could see the talent, but very little spark was to be had here. The screenwriters and director are much to blame. The funny here consists of bird poop, getting hit in the head, getting hit in the groin and a few other lame attempts at humor.
And with all nice and safe family comedies, there are messages to be had. Yes, the environment has to be saved. Politicians are worse than wolves. And of course, a family that builds an ark together… stays together. The moments where it gets serious are so clichéd and predictable that I felt like I was being slapped across the face with its “family values”. The environmental issues presented felt so forced yet it found its way into some kind of bizarre version of MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON... perhaps MR. SMITH AND HIS ANIMAL FRIENDS POOP ON POLITICIANS. Yet this time, it’s badly drawn characters and some merely adequate special effects for the last half hour. And we don’t want to forget about God himself. Morgan Freeman is back and he is as good as any actor could be in the role, probably better. He passes on his wisdom and teaches these folk how to live in His name. Yet I really felt the dude was just there to cash a check. And I don’t blame him, this is a too safe, too sitcom-ish and too unfunny attempt to raise awareness that even a very talented cast can’t save from drowning. But if you are looking for a film that makes 7th HEAVEN look like THE SOPRANOS to take your family to, than this may be the boat you need to hop on. But for me, this ark just didn’t float.
My rating 3/10 -- JimmyO