Evan Almighty doesn’t work as a family comedy, a religious film, or a good movie. With a shaky premise, even Steve Carell’s comedic timing couldn’t rescue this movie from the flood of bad reviews. And this one will be another droplet in that cascade.
When Jim Carrey jumped overboard on this bad script, Carell stepped up. So the story in Evan is based on his minor role in Bruce Almighty, starring Carrey. This is barely a sequel, however, borrowing one and a half characters from the original and none of the humor.
Evan Baxter is a TV anchorman for about ten seconds before he makes an unexplained leap to Congressman. But instead of being an obnoxious, cynical jerk, he’s now a timid family man with a sudden need to “change the world.” While traveling in his Hummer. Then God comes to him and asks him to build an ark to realize that goal. Meanwhile, nothing funny happens.
You can’t fault Carell, though. He does as much as he can with this formulaic plot and bad physical comedy. Wanda Sykes adds nothing, but a continuous barrage of “blackitude.” And Morgan Freeman is barely around as God, leaving the rest of the cast to fend for itself. The funniest parts come from Carell’s former boss, Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show.”
Of course, for a movie about a man destined to build an ark, there are plenty of animals milling about doing wacky, kooky things. But they’re not single characters or cute sidekicks. They’re just there for poop jokes.
Evan Almighty is the most expensive comedy ever made at $175+ million. Watching the first half of the movie you would wonder where all the budget went, other than CG birds whiting out John Goodman. Then you see the giant wasted dollars pour onto the screen and carry this movie to a sappy, predictable conclusion.
Almighty is a messy combination of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Dr. Dolittle, and Field of Dreams. All better movies than this snooze fest. Eight year olds might giggle a few times, but the rest of the family will just be bored. Religious fanatics will be upset as a biblical story is trivialized for lame laughs. And everyone else will wish the ark had saved “two of every” minute they spent on another summer sequel letdown.
I give this movie a pair of yawning hyenas out of five.