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Bruce Almighty

Starring Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman and Jennifer Aniston
Screenplay by Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe & Steve Oedekerk; story by Steve Koren and Mark O'Keefe
Directed by Tom Shadyac

IN SHORT: Gut buster for those of us who didn't like the old Carrey shtick. [Rated PG-13 for Language, Sexual Content and Some Crude Humor. ]

We admit to not being a roll over and die fan of Jim Carrey's early comedy work. It was stupid to the nth degree and it wasn't funny to this old fart, who doesn't find actors who make funny faces, and not much, else funny. We mellowed about the time Carrey showed that he had real acting chops -- he was robbed of the big statue for his portrayal of Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon -- and wasn't just the average class clown. Now Carrey delivers Bruce Almighty, which pretty much demonstrates that he's learned a lot from his days of having to play "it" all down.

In the beginning, Eyewitness News reporter Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) was a nobody, though his life was full of Grace . . . Grace, in this case, is Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston), a lovely girl who is deeply in love. Bruce's life is also full of piss and vinegar. The former courtesy of Bruce's dog Sam, who never learned the meaning of paper or training or walkies. The latter from competition with fellow teevee reporter Evan Baxter (Steve Carell), who's a real piece of work in and of himself. The pair are in a wordless battle for a soon to be vacant anchor position, for which Baxter, seems to have the upper hand.

Did you ever have such a bad day that you just knew that God was taking it out on you? You know the days. You know the accompanying words and expletives. Eyewitness News, Buffalo, reporter Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is having one of those days. The teevee newsman, usually ordered by his boss Jack Keller (Philip Baker Hall) to do stories about happy-go-lucky monkeys, is sent to do a story about the anniversary run of the Maid of the Mist boat that takes tourists out and about Niagra Falls. Events run far beyond Bruce's control, leading to the termination of his employment and a run in with street thugs. It's all "God's fault" of course and, when the anchor cusses out the Lord Almighty (Morgan Freeman), said Lord says "OK, you do better."

Bruce Almighty is funny from start to finish, sometimes stupidly so and sometimes incredibly clever. The jokes run the gamut from smart to sassy, clean to fountains of good ol' Number One. Even more important is that Bruce Almighty doesn't rest on a couple of good gags and a lot of filler. It is so consistently funny that we reached a point where we gave up trying to write down any kind of notes for use in writing up this review . There was no point as every time we looked down to scratch away in the dark, another gag would spray across the big screen. Some were funny enough that we might have sprayed the poor sap sitting in the seat in front of us had our theater not instituted full body searches, checking for recording equipment, before entrance. Thus, we didn't go back out to purchase the usual Coke and popcorn combo that we had forgotten to pick up on the way in. Unlucky theater. Lucky sap..

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Bruce Almighty, he would have paid . . .


In a review of another of this week's releases, we wrote about the whole buncha steps from amusing to funny to continually very funny and, beyond that, the land of laugh out loud funny and then the almost unreachable realm of piss yourself hysterical. We'll let Sam the dog handle the piss jokes. We just laughed . . . a lot.

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