|Directed by||Tom Shadyac|
|Produced by||Tom Shadyac
James D. Brubaker
Janet L. Wattles
Lisa Ann Walter
Philip Baker Hall
|Music by||John Debney|
|Editing by||Scott Hill|
|Distributed by||Universal Studios|
|Release date(s)||May 23, 2003|
|Running time||101 minutes|
|Followed by||Evan Almighty (2007)|
Bruce Almighty is a 2003 American comedy film directed by Tom Shadyac and written by Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe and Steve Oedekerk. It stars Jim Carrey as Bruce Nolan (an anagram for "urban clone"), a down-on-his-luck TV reporter who seeks a promotion and a better life overall. After a series of bad incidents, such as being beaten while helping a homeless person, Bruce complains that God can't do His job properly. He is surprised when he is met by God Himself and granted His powers to see if he can do a better job. Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Catherine Bell, Lisa Ann Walter, and Philip Baker Hall also star, while Tony Bennett makes a cameo appearance.
The film was a box office success despite mixed reviews from critics. When released in American theaters in May 2003, it took the #1 spot at the box office, grossing $85.89 million, higher than the release of Pearl Harbor, making it the highest-rated Memorial Day weekend opening of any film in motion picture history until the release of X-Men: The Last Stand over Memorial Day 2006. The movie surprised media analysts when it beat The Matrix Reloaded after its first week of release. By the time it left theaters in December 2003, it took in a United States domestic total of over $242 million and $484 million worldwide, breaking records as the 17th highest-grossing live action comedy of all time.
Bruce Nolan is a television field reporter for Channel 7 Eyewitness News on WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York who, through his continuous coverage of media interest stories, rather than hard news, is unsuccessful at getting a job as an anchorman. He is in love with his girlfriend Grace, and wants to marry her, but is also very attracted to his co-worker, Susan. After a series of other incidents of ill fortune in one day, he complains to God that He is treating him (Bruce) unfairly and is doing a poor job as supreme deity. God (Morgan Freeman) then contacts Bruce and grants Bruce all of his power so as to prove which one is the better at doing God's job of taking care of the world. The only limits are that he can't go against free will or tell anyone that he is God. Bruce uses his new-found omnipotent powers for personal gain: he sabotages Evan Baxter, his colleague and nemesis who won the audition for the coveted anchorman job; he takes revenge on a street gang who beat him earlier in the film, transforms his busted-up car from a Datsun 260Z to a Saleen S7, and brings the moon closer to Earth. He gains the status of Mr. Exclusive by presenting news of a meteor hurling down near a local fair, uncovering the corpse of Jimmy Hoffa, and getting the rival news group reporters arrested on charges of possessing marijuana. He allows his favorite hockey team, the Buffalo Sabres, to win the Stanley Cup, commands his dog to use the toilet for urination, and enhances the breasts and sex drive of Grace.
Bruce endangers his relationship with Grace through his self-centered behavior. God then reminds Bruce that "He" has the task of resolving other people's problems. God, at this, quotes a line from one of Carrey's other movies ("Alrighty then", from Ace Ventura and The Mask), and tells Bruce that if he wants, Bruce can fix all the world's problems in a few minutes, knowing that this is untrue. Bruce receives millions of prayers that only he can hear, all of which, according to God, originate only from a few streets in his own town. Bruce is thus able to realize how much work God must do to keep the cosmos "in line". Reading the prayers in the form of e-mails, Bruce merely "answers all" granting all of them.
At a party to celebrate his success, Bruce attempts to call Grace to get her to come. However, when Grace arrives, Bruce is then seduced by Susan who passionately kisses him. Bruce, excited that Susan is finally noticing him, kisses her back, but Grace witnesses this and storms off. Bruce finds that all the prayers he has answered have consequences, such as many people from his town winning the lottery and starting a riot.
Bruce then begins to use his powers with more discretion: he examines prayers properly and does not grant all; apologizes to Evan and grants him the position in their work that both had desired; helps a homeless man who has appeared to him at times to convey philosophical speeches; assists a man whose car has broken down by helping him push it to work (after which the man says "God bless" to Bruce), and toilet-trains the aforementioned dog without using divine intervention. Moments later, Grace's sister Debbie comes to Bruce's apartment to pick up Grace's things, including a photo album of Bruce and Grace together that Grace wanted to complete at the beginning at the film but Bruce was too upset to want to, and Bruce completed himself after Grace moved out. Debbie cites a difference in the two siblings' routines, where of the most significant comment is to the effect that Grace is often immersed in prayer. During that day's evening, as Bruce is receiving prayers he looks for one sent by Grace. Upon finding one, he uses his power and discovers Grace praying to God for help to stop loving Bruce because she doesn't want to hurt anymore.
Depressed, Bruce walks onto a highway. Ultimately Bruce realizes that God's powers are best left for God to handle and asks God to take control of his life. Immediately afterward he is struck by an oncoming semi and dies. He is then shown in Heaven, where God asks him what he really wants. In answer, Bruce first makes one of hoping the world is a better place for everyone. But God asks what he truly wants, and he asks that Grace find a man who may make her truly happy and see her through God's eyes, even if it isn't Bruce. At this, Bruce is revived by paramedics. Grace visits him at the hospital and Bruce realizes that God has answered his prayers. Later, Bruce has returned to his earlier field of reporting and is content with it; donates blood for a transfusion; and becomes engaged to Grace. The ending scene features a slow close-up of the homeless man, whose image morphs slightly and He is revealed to be God, who claps His hands and the scene fades to black. This echoes a line of Joan Osborne's song, One of Us, which Bruce is shown singing after his acquisition of the divine power.
The film caused controversy because God contacts Bruce, via pager, using an actual number rather than a number in the standard fictional 555 telephone exchange. The original telephone number was 776-2323. No area code was included. Several people and groups sharing this number have received hundreds of phone calls from people wanting to talk to God. Some of the calls went to a church located in Sanford, North Carolina, whose pastor happened to be named Bruce. A church in Georgia also happens to use this number. This was also the cellphone number of the pastor of a church in Mercer, Wisconsin. The number even turned out to be valid in Greater Manchester in England.
The producers noted that the number chosen was not in use in the Buffalo, New York (area code 716) area wherein the film is set, but did not check anywhere else. The DVD and television versions changed the display of the pager to 555-0123. In some closed captions, the original line is left in the film, but it is dubbed out in the audio.
On June 22, 2007, a sequel to Bruce Almighty entitled Evan Almighty was released, with Steve Carell reprising his role as Evan Baxter and Morgan Freeman reprising his role as God. Although Bruce Almighty director Tom Shadyac returned to direct the sequel, neither Jim Carrey nor Jennifer Aniston were involved with the film, though Carrey's character, Bruce, is mentioned in the new film's teaser trailer.
An unofficial Bollywood remake, God Tussi Great Ho, was released on August 15, 2008. It stars Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Sohail Khan, and Priyanka Chopra. Bachchan's role corresponds to Freeman's, and Salman Khan's role corresponds to Carrey's.
The station at which Bruce Nolan works, WKBW-TV, is in fact a real station, and the movie featured one of the station's former sports intro graphics. However, a different news set, theme song, and news opening graphics were used instead of the Move Closer to Your World package used by WKBW at the time, and only one real WKBW-TV anchor actually appeared in the film: John Murphy, the sports anchor better known as the play-by-play voice of the Buffalo Bills. Carrey lived in Southern Ontario during his childhood, during WKBW's "Irv, Rick and Tom" era in which the station was widely popular in Canada, and WKBW's real-life feature reporters, Don Polec (now at WPVI-TV in Philadelphia) and Mike Randall (now WKBW's chief meteorologist) were said to be inspirations for the character of Bruce Nolan. Evan Baxter was said to be based on current WKBW lead anchor Keith Radford.
WKBW's rival station in the movie was "Channel 5," a station that used the logos of WKBW's sister station, WTVH, which is not in Buffalo but in Syracuse. It is believed that the movie's producers tried unsuccessfully to get permission to use WIVB-TV (channel 4), WKBW's real-life rival, in the film, and inserted WTVH in as a substitute.
|Bruce Almighty: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack by John Debney, Various Artists|
|Released||June 3, 2003|
Tracks 9-14 are from the score composed by John Debney, performed by The Hollywood Studio Symphony (conducted by Pete Anthony) with Brad Dechter and Sandy De Crescent.