Evan Almighty (2007) Tom Shadyac

Production Budget: $200 million

Worldwide Gross: $173 million

With comedy bombs, and especially this movie (the most expensive comedy ever made), it is obvious why it fails.  There is no reason…at all…under any circumstance why this movie should have cost $200 million dollars.  Your comedy should not cost more than a Lord of the Rings movie, or Star Wars, or any comic book movie.  Sure, it is in the realm of possibility that a comedy can gross over $400 million but you are going to lose your movie studio quickly if you live by that philosophy.  What is probably the most insane part of this whole situation is this movie didn’t even need to be $200 million.  The first movie was $81 million (a healthy chunk due to Jim Carrey’s massive salary) and it was really just Jim Carrey doing wacky shenanigans with god like abilities for a few hours.  Really with the up and comer Steve Carrell coming in for less money, this movie should have been, in fact, much cheaper.  Just have him do his usual Office routine opposite Morgan Freeman and you have a mediocre comedy that was cheap to produce but high on profits.  However the  producers felt the need to load the movie with animals (ask how that worked out on the set of Doctor Dolittle) and completely unnecessary CGI.  But I am yammering too long without getting to the story.

So this movie follows Evan Baxter (Steve Carrell) who has left his job as a news anchor to become a Congressman.  He is visited by God (Morgan Freeman) and instructed to build an ark because of an upcoming flood.  Everyone obviously thinks he is crazy for going on a mission from God.

Now I’m sure it is no secret (I do nothing to hide the fact anyway) I am an atheist.  The scarlet A on the side of my blog is part of the Out Campaign.  Now this is not going to get me going on a tirade on religion and don’t be expecting me to go on some rants because I know it would not be welcome on this platform.  Suffice it to say, I only bring it up because I’m sure the criticism could be leveled I am already biased against this movie and just came in with a bad attitude.  That is not true.  I try (although granted it is not always possible) to go in with a clean slate and judge the movie on its own merits.  And while in my personal life I have my own beliefs, in the fictional movie world I can accept magic, aliens, gods, and any number of a things I may not accept normally.  Point is, if it is entertaining, I really don’t care.  So, that being said, this movie is not entertaining.

For one, Steve Carrell really isn’t allowed to do what made him so popular.  He plays the quirky buffoon/prick rather well.  In this movie he is a bland loving parent with no real funny lines of his own.  The main gags just seem to be him playing around with animals and doing stupid slapstick by falling off his construction site and smacking himself with a hammer.  Because the movie is a PG inoffensive Christian romp, he isn’t allowed to do anything, well, funny.  Really anyone could have been in this role and it wouldn’t have been any different or more funny.  In addition to stupid slapstick, the writing continues to scrape the bottom of the barrel with poop jokes and lame puns.  While I can’t say the humor is terrible or offensive, it is nothing special either.  Speaking of wasted talent, Lauren Graham and John Goodman are also not allowed to do a damn thing.  Wanda Sykes gets a few good lines in and Jonah Hill is painful as Baxter’s top aide.

The story, frankly, is stupid and should be ignored.  God in this movie is a dick.  The movie is supposed to be about Evan being some major asshole and through his experience of building the ark he is supposed to get his comeuppance and grow as a person.  In some cases like The Santa Clause that works.  In Evan Almighty though, the problem is that Evan really isn’t that bad of a guy.  Sure he misses some time with the kids but it is no real malicious intent.  He is a loving husband who supports his children and has a genuine interest in helping his fellow man.  While he may make some mistakes that could be corrected, he is generally a good guy.  But God in this movie takes it upon himself to personally f*ck over Evan taking away his job, money, friends, associates, and also to punish him in a myriad of ways for his own personal jollies.  Evan really doesn’t deserve all this crap and it is odd that I feel sorry for this sad pathetic man who really doesn’t deserve a tenth of what he is really getting.  That’s not the sign of a good movie is it?  Feeling bad for the person who is supposedly getting their much deserved lesson/comeuppance?  If I were being a real prick, I would ask why God is saving some 20 people from a flood in the suburbs and he let Katrina go no problem?  Also if Baxter is playing out the life if Noah, wouldn’t we have as the end chapter Baxter getting drunk and cursing his son for seeing him naked?  I’m just saying recreating a story where God kills almost all of humanity is not, at least in my opinion, ideal storytelling for a family movie.

The final act of the movie is one big money splurge.  We get the flood scene and you can almost literally see the money flowing by.  And I will say the effects look nice but again this scene is entirely pointless.  This scene is not funny at all.  It is just the characters riding around shouting out one liners like “look out!” or “hold on!” or “get down!”.  I’ve just never seen such a frivolous spending of money like that in a movie.

Overall this is a bad movie.  I can see the average family watching this and just thinking it is just some mediocre comedy.  I mean we are not talking about a really painful movie.  I’m sure there are some families that can watch it and it will distract the kids for a few hours.  For me though this is a bland and forgetful comedy that didn’t make me laugh at all.

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One Response to “Evan Almighty (2007) Tom Shadyac”

  1. Destrucity Says:

    At the end of the film, Evan asks something to the effect of “Why did all of this have to happen? Why me?” and the God-character tells him “Because I love you.”

    EPIC FACEPALM.

    I am, to put it coyly, within the demographic market for Evan Almighty, and I could not feel more insulted by this movie. It’s one thing to introduce elements of Christianity into your movie. It’s yet another thing to beat your audience over the head with those elements. It’s yet another thing to make those elements as trite and insipid as possible and THEN to beat your audience over the head with them, and that is precisely what this movie does. I mean, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin Mary” on a theater marquee?

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