Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Wrong choice, Shadyac.
This film was selected from ‘The 250’
One of the many things I liked about Bruce Almighty was it was one of the few Christian-themed secular movies. For instance, it had a lot of amazing messages that Christians could love, but it also had sexually-suggestive elements, language, and…whatever. All around it worked really well for a modern audience, and it felt pretty darn original. So yeah, I was interested in seeing a sequel, especially when I heard it was Steve Carell. His role as Evan Baxter in the first movie was hilarious, so I was on board. However, Evan Almighty isn’t as good as it probably set itself out for.
If you can recall, Evan Baxter was a co-ancor of a news station in Buffalo, New York – but apparently he has gotten into politics lately, becoming a U.S. Congressman. So he, his wife and three kids, move to Washington, D.C. to “change the world”. While there, Evan is met by God (Morgan Freeman), who tells Evan that a flood is coming and he has to build an ark. At first, he refuses, and then he starts growing an unstoppable beard and God just…convinces him to do it even though he looks like a crazy person.
It is hard not to compare this to Bruce Almighty. I mean really hard, because it doesn’t match up at all. First of all, the character of Evan Baxter is completely different. He was a sleezeball idiot in the first movie only there for himself. He was also interested in co-anchor Susan Ortega. Well, according to the ages of his three kids in this movie…he would have clearly still had them in the first movie – making his character even worse. Suddenly he has a loving family and wants to change the world? I don’t get it. Also, let’s not forget about the title. It’s called Evan Almighty, not Evan’s Ark. The latter would have been more appropriate, but would have drawn in a lesser crowd…so right there you have a marketing ploy.
Now, I should mention the theme is all wrong. They wanted this to be less adult-themed, and more Christian-happy and family oriented. I do get that, I think it relates to a different audience in a positive way, but that same audience will feel odd being able to be only enjoy the second movie in the franchise. Then, you have people like me, who can really only love the first movie. As far as target audience goes, this movie is warped up the kazoo.
Let’s ignore all that, let’s just say this is the first and only movie in the franchise…what problems do we face now? Well, let’s see. First of all, you have a title that doesn’t make sense, and you have a plot that honestly doesn’t add up. God wants to teach Evan a lesson by creating a flood. His lesson to this one guy and maybe his family, is one that would also kill everyone in the city and quite possibly the world? Remember, in the original story, the flood was a form of global death because God wanted to restart the world because everyone just sucked as human beings. His lessons may be to build character and to pay attention to your family and do what’s right, but at the same time – everyone else is doomed to die. I mean, what the heck? Let’s also not forget the fact that we’ve seen the story of Noah’s Ark done a thousand times before.
No, no, no, Tom Shadyak. You did this wrong. I don’t think anyone would have had a problem with Evan Baxter getting the powers of God. That alone is what won you over for the first movie – well…that and Jim Carrey. Steve Carell could have done something similar, but noooooo, you had to pick Noah’s frickin’ Ark.
Steve Carell tries his darndest to crack jokes through physical and transformation humor, and he does okay sometimes. Morgan Freeman was the best part of the movie, as he did a wonderful job portraying God once more and showing his love for the common man. It’s a more family-oriented movie, so….there’s that.
To sum things up – the character of Evan Baxter is completely different, his entire family’s existence and the overall plot doesn’t add up, and the jokes fall flat more than I ever remembered them doing the first time I saw it.
Evan’s wife’s name is Joan. This is an allusion to a popular joke combining the names of French freedom fighter Joan of Arc and Noah’s Ark, which are obviously two very different stories.