Evan Almighty (2007)

Genres - Comedy, Fantasy  |   Sub-Genres - Heavenly Comedy, Fantasy Comedy  |   Release Date - Jun 22, 2007 (USA)  |   Run Time - 96 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Cammila Collar

The family comedy Evan Almighty has plenty going for it. Unfortunately, you probably won't notice its finer points if you're engulfed in crippling disappointment over everything the film is not. Will you be one of the sad and disgusted masses, or will you be free of the heavy, burdensome chains of bitterness brought about by dashed expectations? With a few simple questions, you can find out for yourself.

It all comes down to what exactly made you want to watch this movie in the first place. One possibility is A) you saw Bruce Almighty, which was mostly an excuse to let Jim Carrey work his comedic schtick, and you figured the sequel would likewise serve as a showcase for star Steve Carell's own brand of comedic stylings. Another less likely possibility is B) You thought the idea of a cute, fantasy-driven, just-barely-non-denominational religious story with simplified messages about showing kindness and protecting the environment sounded like a fine time.

If choice A) describes your motivation to see Evan Almighty, you're in trouble. There's almost no smart, witty, or sarcastic humor in this movie; most of the jokes are based on people falling over or getting pooped on. Carell is capable of feats of hilarity far greater than this, which is why it's so tragic. Additionally, the film also features appearances by Jonah Hill, Molly Shannon, Ed Helms, and Wanda Sykes -- fantastically gifted comedians, none of whom get the chance to be one tenth as funny as we know they can be.

That's partly because they're not given good jokes, let alone the chance to improv, but it's also because this movie just isn't meant to be a belly-laughing comedy. The humor in Evan Almighty takes a back seat to the story itself, a "what if" about a man discovering faith and figuring out his priorities. Unfortunately, the depth of that story doesn't exactly resemble flood waters, so it can come off as hokey and dumb. That wouldn't be such a problem for most viewers if the film delivered the irony and wit that adults need to accept a sappy story that reduces the most destructive act of the Old Testament God to mainstream family fare. But the thing is, the movie is still really sweet, and as side-steppingly uncomplicated as the moral is, it's still a good one -- especially for tweens and young kids, who won't have a problem laughing at the poop and pratfalls.