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Billy Connolly plays a fisherman living in Australia, having given up law out of frustration with the system'. When a freak of lightning wipes out his small fishing boat and the insurance companies refuse to pay (as it's an act of God') he takes up law again to take on the system, the legal fiction, the churches and the big insurance companies. Although it's title and trailer maybe suggest a mindless slapstick (and it contains a fair amount of this), the film actually delivers something more mentally challenging and is successfully entertaining by dint of hard work on an initial premises rather than any series of fast jokes. Interesting conundrums about class actions, legal liability and the legal ramifications of the existence or non-existence of God' abound, and the lead characters demonstrate a humanity that makes the comedy all the more touching.
Firstly, I did enjoy 'The man who sued God'. Billy Connolly is excellent,
his wit and charm is on display throughout the film and it is very, very,
funny, most of the time.
Unfortunately it is slightly too long and there are a few bits that could have been quite easily cut without harming the story.
Billy seems to spend an awful lot of time mooning around churches and the 'divine intervention' bit is embarassingly bad and entirely unnecessary. Quite frankly, whoever came up with this scene should be shot!
However having said that the film does have many qualities. The scenery is fantastic and the cast are generally excelent. Judy Davis is very good as the journo who takes an interest in Connolly's case. She strikes some nice romantic sparks of Connolly who is in great, swearing, ranting mode throughout. Colin Friels is also pretty good as Connolly's brother and Wendy Hughes is nice as the prickly but understanding ex-wife.
I can't imagine many Jews would be too pleased with the portrayal of the Rabbi "So, we just prove there is no God, ...who cares!" seems to be his attitude, but generally the film is pretty amusing with an interesting premise.
As I say there is at lease one totally shoddy scene and some unnecessary wandering that could have been fixed by a decent editor but still, if not a classic, still a genuinely funny film and well worth seeing.
By the way Connolly gives a fantastic (and quite different) acting performance as an ex-con artist in the Debt Collecter (1999). Get a hold of this Scottish thriller if you are a Connolly fan as it is absolutely brilliant.
Aside from it's flaws i did enjoy this movie a great deal, the story
builds nicely and Billy Connolly holds together the plot despite the
delicacy of the premise and the flaws in the script.
As a comedy it is well worth watching, it's crammed with subtle humour throughout; it's also enjoyable as a romance, again it's subtle, but it's steady and quite heartwarming, despite the clichés.
The story itself is very intriguing, it successfully provokes your thoughts and captures your imagination with interesting questions; but it fails to draw sufficient conclusion at the finale, and it did feel like a bit of a let down.
6/10 It's still worth watching.
Everyone seems to be taking this movie waaaaaaay too seriously. Billy Connolly is terrific and the story is wonderful. A great feel good movie and except for the non-stop obscenities, would be a great family film. Terrific writing and great delivery. It's not meant to be an academy award winning drama...it's a comedy for heaven's sake. I never even knew who Billy Connolly was, and now I'm a fan. He's irreverent and incredibly funny, kind of like a Scottish George Carlin. People are complaining about the end, but even though it's a little hokey, it's still enjoyable. If you want to watch a movie with an unbelievably bad ending, watch Russel Crowe in 3:10 to Yuma. Now there's a bad ending.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I went to see this film with high expectations, Billy is usually so funny
with his observational humour! The title had me wondering and the
is very clever and well thought out.
Half way through I noticed (trying not to be biased because of its low-budget status) that the script did the storyline no justice. The only funny parts I expected came from the constant bad mouthing of Connelly and the odd line from the Priests etc. The worst was yet to come.
Just when the film was getting juicy (when the church could only win by proving God DOESN'T exist) Connelly falls for (in matters of the heart and into bed with) the annoying reporter that oh-so-sweetly accepts the fact that he cost her her job!
Basically the end turns out so that he drops his case because God's "fury" turned him to the new love of his life and they live happily ever after, yada yada yada, then he sponges off the media and makes a few Australian bucks!
Good start to the story and very controversial in its own right, bad ending and even worse acting on the reporters part, i can't even remember her name!
When events happen that are not within predictable range, and there seems nothing for it but accept it as an act of god, many people accept it as inevitable. That's well and good for little things, but not when the event is ruinous, destructive or major. And especially when it's an event that causes a loss' where that loss was covered by insurance.
That sort of loss befell our man, played with insight, verve and delicacy by Billy Connolly, in 'The Man Who Sued God'. What's important about this movie is that it's not about Billy Connolly, it's not him mugging for the camera and pulling stunts. It's a drama about a man in a tough situation, with romantic and comedic elements included. It's well written, played with truth and energy by the entire cast, and shot vividly, both for the exterior scenes of 'beautiful OZ', and the interiors, where so much of the action takes place.
He's just had his fishing boat blown out of the water by a direct hit from lightening, and it's all covered by insurance. Until the small print comes into play, and the company refuses to pay, saying that the lightning strike was an act of God. There is no other recourse than the Courts, and our man sues God for the loss of his boat and livelihood.
He sues all denominations of religion, as the servants and agents of God on Earth, and they all hire lawyers. It begins to look a bit like 'The Verdict' for a while, but the interplay between the different religions turns the action from that path, prior to deja vu setting in. There's courtroom drama that rings true, and interpersonal that carries the story forward without resorting to artificial devices. It's a drama with comedic moments and a romantic element, in a warm and compact package, which is a good thing.
All in all, a feel-good movie without the smarminess -you can feel good about liking this one.
Scottish stand up comedian Billy Connolly (recently featured in The
Last Samurai) plays divorced and disillusioned ex-lawyer Steve Myers,
who now whiles away his time on a fishing boat in New South Wales,
Australia. One afternoon his boat, which is now basically his life, is
destroyed by a bolt of lightning, which also results in a chard of the
hull being embedded in his foot. On crutches he approaches his
insurance company who refuse to pay as the incident is deemed an 'Act
of God'. Connolly's traditional Celtic brand of outrageous, yet
amusing, expletives result in his being carried unceremoniously out of
the building. Undeterred by this he decides to challenge the very
meaning of the term 'Act of God', which by it's very nature determines
that someone (in this case God) is responsible, and if someone (God) is
responsible then they (or He) can therefore be sued
or at least their
(or His) representatives can. The subsequent court case generates a
media storm as Myers, a not unaccomplished and uncharismatic courtroom
tactician, initially runs rings around his opponents. Thus begins the
David and Goliath battle between the little man and the formidable
powers of the Church and the massive legal and insurance firms in their
employ. Myers also gathers 800 or so co-plaintiffs, all victims of the
'Act of God' clause, to support him in his case. It eventually gets to
the point where it looks like the only way the church are going to win
their case is to prove that God doesn't exist. It's a clever, simple
premise and one you wish you'd thought of yourself.
It's no coincidence that Connolly's character is a fisherman, or even a fisher of men, and that his beef is with the corrupt insurance companies representing an apparently corrupt church. If it was suddenly discovered that Christ was Scottish, then it would have been Connolly calming the storm out on the Sea of Galilee, and Connolly who threw the moneylenders out of His Father's house, and, hirsute and ranting as he is in this movie, impressive he would have been too. Billy Connolly as Christ now that would even give Mel Gibson a run for his money I bet he'd be great at parting the Red Sea oh, no, that was Moses wasn't it. Never mind, he could play that role too (nobody seems to worry about accents in movies anyway) and in fact he almost pleads to the court on behalf of his co-plaintiffs 'Let my people go', or rather 'Give my people their money you bastards', but with a smile and a twinkle in the eye that only Connolly can get away with well, him and Sean Connery. Why haven't they been teamed up in a movie? It seems like a match made in Heaven to me.
There are many storms brewing toward the end of the film; Religious zealots surround the courthouse hurling abuse at the blasphemer Myers; Myers can't afford to lose the case; the lawyers can't afford to either, nor can the church, and there's also a mighty wind storm approaching the town bringing forest fires and floods (and no doubt frogs, plague and locusts) with it. Needless to say it's a happy ending, the lawyers and the church get their knuckles rapped, the image of God remains untarnished (of course), Myers gets the girl and the zealots go home sulking and dragging their large wooden cross with them in another Christ reference.
It's a refreshing film, as most Australian movies are. There's great attention to character and background detail. Connolly (Water, Mrs. Brown, Muppet Treasure Island, Boondock Saints, Timeline), undoubtedly a talented actor and comedian, is obviously cast for distribution purposes (Myers isn't a particularly Scottish name after all) and seems a little out of place in the Australian backdrop, but his rants are very funny. Veteran and versatile Australian actress Judy Davis (Deconstructing Harry, Celebrity, Absolute Power, The Reagans), as Myers' journalistic co-conspirator and love interest, is subject to some slapstick humour as a drunken and literally legless Myers wrecks a restaurant, and the excellent supporting cast are all the more convincing for their unfamiliarity.
"The Man Who Sued God" - well, right from the start, it's an
The story of retired lawyer Steve Myers (Billy Connolly), whose boat is struck by lightning and, well, he wouldn't beat the insurance companies, so theres gotta be _someone_ to sue, is... interesting to say the least. Connolly and Judy Davis are great, Billy in particular being roaringly funny at some points. Although for all its funniness the film raises some interesting questions as well, like: can the churches sue insurance companies for "breach of copyright" on the phrase "Acts of God"?
A great film.
The story's an excellent one. A fisherman see his boat get hit by
lightning, but the
insurance company won't pay up as they call it an "Act Of God", so he
decides to sue
God - well the leaders of the churches, anyway.
I wish Billy Connolly would play less roles where he's called upon to be Billy Connolly, where there's no at all the swearing and being Scottish - he can be a really good actor, and he sort of is in this. Judy Davis, however, isn't convincing, but I'm sure that's the fault of the role or the writing, rather than Ms Davis herself.
At first thought, the ending seems to be very Hollywood, but in the time since I saw the film, it would appear that perhaps it was the best possible conclusion. The two other possible endings - one would have been even more Hollywood and the other one would have been a disappointment.
(And on a minor point, I think this was the first time I've ever seen a movie or TV show set in Sydney that didn't go for the stock cliche of shots of the Harbour Bridge and/or the Opera House - kudos to the writers for not being formulaic in that respect).
Billy Connolly is one of funniest comedians on the planet. This movie
wasted 90% of his talent. Swearing, falling down, and scripted gags are
not what he is for. He is known as a comic atheist. In the movie he
plays an addled believer. The scruffy dog Arthur gets the biggest
I expected the movie to play in a witty way with the notion of "act of god" and the lies churches and insurance companies perpetuate, but the banter was wooden and irrational. I repeatedly tuned out with boredom. The climax of the movie is a Hollywood-style CGI "miracle", corny as could be. The movie does not even have the intellectual weight of "Oh God".
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