Bruce Almighty

Cast
Bruce Nolan: Jim Carrey
Grace: Jennifer Aniston
God: Morgan Freeman
Hood: Mark Adair-Rios
Susan: Catherine Bell
Waitress: Sally Kirkland
Debbie: Lisa Ann Walter
Jack Keller: Philip Baker Hall

Universal Pictures presents a film directed by Tom Shadyac. Written by Steve Oedekerk, Steve Koren, Mark O’Keefe. Running time: 101 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for language, sexual content and some crude humor).

Central Theme
To enjoy God’s blessing and presence in your life you need to discover your unique gift (spark), be a miracle by offering your spark to the world, and appreciate the good in your life.

Story
It’s fun to have God’s powers…and if you don’t believe it, just ask Bruce Nolan (JIM CARREY), because he should know!

Bruce is a local Eyewitness News TV reporter in Buffalo, New York, best known for doing humorous, homespun, human-interest stories…which make everyone happy but him! Bruce would much rather be replacing the soon-to-retire anchorman, or at the very least, reporting significant news from international hot spots. Essentially, Bruce is discontented with nearly everything in his life, and rarely misses an opportunity to complain about it. He has a loving girlfriend, Grace (JENNIFER ANISTON), who runs a day care center, is happy with her life, and adores Bruce in spite of his negativity. While he dreams of becoming a legend like Walter Cronkite, she tries to help the world one day at a time.

Bruce is handed a good opportunity when he’s asked to do a story on the 23rd anniversary of Niagara Falls’ famed Maid of the Mist boat, which will air live during sweeps. But the mist hits the fan when it’s announced on-air–just before Bruce goes live–that the co-anchor position about to be vacated is going to Bruce’s superficial and supercilious rival. In front of millions of viewers, Bruce has a major-league, no-holds-barred, on-camera meltdown, punctuated by a four-letter word not yet cleared for network television.

One disaster follows another on this, the worst day of Bruce Nolan’s life, as he’s fired from the station, beaten up by a gang of toughs, who then vandalize his car. Furious, Bruce rails and rages against the Lord for his rotten luck…which is followed by a curious series of signs and portents–most of which Bruce ignores–but one of which eventually leads him to a nondescript old building called Omni Presents, Inc.

There, Bruce meets an equally nondescript janitor (MORGAN FREEMAN), who ultimately reveals himself for who He really is…yep, he’s God!
He’s heard Bruce’s complaints, and now has an offer for the choleric ex-newscaster…His job. By endowing Bruce with all of His powers, God challenges him to take on the big job and see if he can do any better!
And once Bruce convinces himself that he’s not dreaming, having a nightmare or a psychotic episode, he proceeds to utilize the infinite powers at his disposal, great and small, for his own amusement, advancement and advantage until finally he stands at a crossroads: whether or not he will become the biggest and most powerful jerk in the universe, or find a little bit of humanity in Bruce Almighty.
‚©Universal Studios

When Bruce receives his new power initially it is used for selfish and silly purposes. Cute moments include the “parting of the tomato soup” and the lassoing the moon to draw it closer for a romantic interlude with Grace (an acknowledgment of It’s a Wonderful Life). His use of his powers to thwart Evan’s evening newscast is hilarious but is also an abuse of his power. Other abuses of power include enlargement of Grace’s breasts, the delivery of a monkey from a gang member’s posterior and causing a wind to blow up a young woman’s skirt. His impatience with the prayer’s of others leads to him giving everybody what they want, which turns out to be disastrous! And when he uses his power to get what he always wanted, he lands the anchor job but finds it strangely unsatisfying. And in the process he loses Grace who wants a commitment in marriage not just stuff.

Grace’s prayers are heartfelt and selfless and it is ultimately Grace who bridges the gap between God and Bruce. This play on the theological term “grace,” unmerited favor, is likely intentional and in life it is true; it is amazing grace that draws us to God.

The crudities and juvenile humor in the film distract from the essential goodness of it’s messages: of God’s love, the importance of gratitude, the need to find out who God has uniquely created you to be, and to “be a miracle” by doing your part.

Notice the soundtrack in the background: There is a God shaped hole in each of us, You’re a god and I am not and Carey’s singing, “what if God was one of us.”

Beliefs num
–There is a God. I am not God. That is a very good thing.
–God created us and loves us.
–He has a purpose for each of us and it is imbedded in our “spark,” the unique talent he has given us.
–When we do our part, we become the miracle God intended us to be.
–Being who God made us to be is more important than success and stuff.
–God gives us free will and our unhappiness is often caused by our own bad decisions.
–Serving others is more satisfying than serving your self.
–Our problem is not that God does not love us, but that in our freedom, we choose not to love God.
–We can find our way to God because of His grace (undeserved love).
–Surrendering to God’s will is our path to joy and satisfaction in life.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What are the artistic merits of this film?
–What elements common to human experience did you resonate with in this film?
–What elements in word, deed, theme or behavior created a dissonance with who you are or want to be spiritually?
–What does this film tell us abut who God is? Who humans are? What we are seeking in life?
–How do you think we discover God’s will for our life?
–Is our uniqueness a clue to finding our happiness?

Provocative Quotes byline
–God why do you hate me?
==Bruce
–I hope they’re powerful. I’m gonna need a friggin miracle to get to work on time.
==Bruce about the prayer beads Grace gave him.
–Life is just.
==On Bum’s sign.
–Let’s thank God for his blessings are raining down on me. God has taken my bird and my bush. God is too busy giving Evan everything he wants.
==Bruce sarcasm when he doesn’t get the anchor job.
–Lord I really need a miracle. I’m desperate, I need your help. Please reach into my life.
==Bruce prays.
–The only one not doing his job around here is you.
==God to Bruce.
–Some of the happiest people in the world go home smelling to high heaven.
==God about manual labor to Bruce.
–God is a mean kid with a magnifying glass. Sitting on an anthill. And I’m the ant.
–Thank you for the Grand Canyon and Good Luck with Armegeddon!
==Bruce to God.
–There are two conditions. You can’t tell anyone you are God and you can’t mess with free will.
–You’ve had my power for over a week now. How many people have you helped?
==God to Bruce.
–How do you make somebody love you without affecting free will?
==Bruce to God, after he sends Grace signs but she does not responds.
–Welcome to my world.
==God acknowledging that he too is unloved by people whose free will gets in the way.
–Miracles. People want me to do everything for them. What they don’t realize is they have the power. Be a miracle!
==God to Bruce.
–All for won.
==Sign from Bum.
–God Bee, Good Honey.
==Sign from Bum.
–You know what Grace does? She prays. Most of the time for you.
==Grace’s sister about Graces prayers for others and especially Bruce.
–You win. I’m done. Please. I don’t want to be God. I want you to decide what is right for me. I surrender to your will.
==Bruce to God.
–You have the divine spark. You have the ability to make people laugh. Be the miracle.
==God to Bruce.
–Armageddon out of here.
==Sign from Bum.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in May 23, 2003 by | No Comments »

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