Making the Grades
Ever feel like your prayers aren't answered? That no one up there is listening? Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) does. The field reporter for a Buffalo TV station has been passed over for a promotion, beat up by a gang of thugs after helping a homeless guy, and handed yet another comic relief story for the nightly news broadcast.
Rather than make note of the good things in his life, the middle-aged journalist whines incessantly about the lack of heavenly intervention on his behalf. Fed up with the complaining, God (Morgan Freeman) gives Bruce the chance to trade places with him and see if he can do a better job. Only two rules apply. He can't reveal who he is and he can't mess with anyone's free will. With all encompassing power placed in his hands, Bruce, rather gleefully, sets out to take care of the world.
Unfortunately, the extent of the world for him is a narrow cross-section of New York State, and the person he cares most about is himself. As Supreme Being, he is neither forgiving nor wise. Instead, the self-centered Almighty seems interested only in getting revenge on his co-worker Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) and enjoying some sexual gratification with his live-in girlfriend, Grace (Jennifer Anniston).
The new appointee is also finding the position a little more demanding than he expected. When unanswered prayers start piling up, he looks for a quick push-button solution to the human ills so he can get on with the fun part of ruling the universe. But resolving the heartfelt pleas of some and the unsatisfied grumbles of others takes a toll on the self-absorbed sovereign. Unable to see past his own desires, his earthly relationship with Grace suffers along with his ability to make sound judgment calls for the benefit of mankind.
As Bruce struggles to rule the universe, he discovers a kind and patient Deity that hears and answers prayers. Learning to see those answers and heed them makes a big difference in his mortal outlook.
Returning to his comedic roots, Carrey attacks the role of Bruce Nolan with an irreverent and cheeky humor reminiscent of his pre-Majestic days. For some viewers, his flippant attitude toward Deity may cause discomfort. Parents, regardless of their religious beliefs, may also lose faith in the script that includes a repeated sexual hand gesture and a host of profanities (including a strong sexual term). These issues, along with an evening of passion and brief violence, makes Bruce Almighty more devilish than divine for family entertainment.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Bruce Almighty.
After gaining ultimate power, how does Bruce treat the woman he loves? Does his relationship with Grace improve or does he use his gift to indulge his personal pleasures? How does he deal with his coworkers at the TV station?
Although as God, Bruce could answer every prayer with a yes, what were the consequences when he did? Was ?yes? always the best answer? Why is what you want and what is right for you often two different things?
Is it enough for believers to pray for miracles and then step back and wait for them to happen? What human qualities and abilities do we have that allow us to make a difference in the world? Can a person engage in specific activities and then pray to be spared the consequences of their actions?