A scheming raccoon fools a mismatched family of forest creatures into helping him repay a debt of food, by invading the new suburban sprawl that popped up while they were hibernating...and learns a lesson about family himself.
Buffalo newsman Evan Baxter is elected to Congress with the slogan, "Change the world." He lucks into a huge house in a new Virginia suburb. His Capitol office is also fantastic, but there's a catch: he's tapped by the powerful Congressman Long to co-sponsor a bill to allow development in national parks. In steps God, who appears to a disbelieving Evan and gently commands him to build an ark. Tools and wood arrive in Evan's yard, animal pairs follow, his beard and hair grow wildly, nomad's clothes and a staff appear. Long grows impatient, Evan starts building, his family leaves him, reporters gather, and drought grips D.C. Still, Evan believes. But will he change the world? Written by
One hundred and seventy five million dollars is a hell of a lot of money to spend on even the biggest summer blockbuster. Not even Michael Bay had a budget that big for Transformers, so exactly how Universal Pictures spent that much cash making Evan Almighty is a mystery. They certainly didn't spend it on the script for one thing as the film is not so much a classic comedy as it is Christian flag waving and bar one or two quiet chuckles, you're most likely to spend the duration wondering where the budget went or why Steve Carrell felt the need to slum it in a decidedly average movie at the exact moment when his star profile has begun to rise.
A sequel to the Jim Carrey comedy Bruce Almighty, this film sees former supporting character Evan Baxter (Carrell) moving up the ladder into the main player slot. The story opens with him leaving the news desk to become a public official and moving to Washington with his wife and three generic sons (slightly weird primary school moppet, spirited middle schooler and sulky teenager). Evan's bid to change the world through politics however gets a spanner in the works when God (Morgan Freeman) appears and asks him to build an Ark.
In other words, it's an updating of the old Genesis story, with Evan fighting off cynicism and naysayers to build the immense boat. Unfortunately, while the premise is reasonably promising, it sadly does not provide many laughs. There's a bit of fun to be had in the early going where Evan's straight-laced MP tries to juggle the demands of public service with the unwelcome packs of animals that follow him around and a beard that resists all attempts to shave it, but as soon as he accepts his divine mission, the film takes a nosedive.
From this point on, it turns into a message movie. Evan begins preaching with alarming regularity and Morgan Freeman keeps turning up to offer kind wisdom, while gently prodding his chosen in the right direction. Without Evan's resistance though, the only trace of comedy left comes in the form of a few rubbish animal-feces jokes and John Michael Higgin's role as Evan's exasperated right-hand man. Higgins may show the same rich comic potential that he did previously in Arrested Development, but his enthusiasm cannot save the sinking vessel, especially seeing as Carrell has all but placed his formidable improv skills on the back-burner.
In some respects, it's slightly similar to the Passion of the Christ, but unlike Mel Gibson's movie which encouraged everyone to believe in God through blood letting and guilt tripping, Evan Almighty tries a more gentle approach. The movie simply tells us that we should have faith in God, because He has faith in us. Unfortunately, this movie is just as likely to make you laugh as the Passion is. Carrell is on autopilot, the jokes don't exist and Wanda Sykes makes a bid to become the most annoying person on the planet. It might be sweet, but somebody just tossed $175 000 000 overboard.
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