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Review: Evan Almighty (2007)

Evan Almighty (2007)

Directed by: Tom Shadyac

Premise: A sequel to Bruce Almighty. God (Morgan Freeman) comes to newly elected congressman Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) and commands him to build an Ark like Noah in the Book of Genesis. After some deliberating, Evan and his family commit to build the Ark despite ridicule from Evan’s fellow congressmen and their neighbors.

What Works: Steve Carell does well in his transformation from congressman to prophet. Although the film does very little soul searching, Carell makes certain moments count as much as he can to give the character some depth.

What Doesn’t: Evan Almighty is not a very successful comedy because it just isn’t very funny. Carell is a solid actor but his attempts at physical comedy have never been very good. The laughs are few and far between and when they do arrive most are little more than a chuckle. Structurally, Evan Almighty mirrors the original film as Evan moves from a dissatisfied and unspiritual egoist to a more balanced person with greater perspective. However, in the original film, Bruce (Jim Carrey) was faced with some serious issues of faith and the film managed to navigate this weighty subject matter while also leaving room for the comedy. Evan Almighty does neither of these very well. Evan rediscovers his faith too easily and the story never allows for him to be properly tested or pressured. Where the original film had a very nice relationship between Bruce and his girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston), the development of the relationship between Evan and his wife (Lauren Graham) and children (Johnny Simmons, Graham Phillips, Jimmy Bennett) in the sequel is very poorly done. There is no rise and fall in the conflict and although the film is attempting to reaffirm some kind of family values there is nothing here except the wife and kids doing what Evan tells them to do.

Bottom Line: Evan Almighty is a disappointment. The story is flat, the humor is dull, and the characters are uninteresting. This sequel appears to have been motivated more by residuals than artistic or comedic inspiration. 

Episode: #150 (July 29, 2007)