Making the Grades
As a newly elected Congressman, Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) is ready to "change the world." But fulfilling his campaign promise is more difficult than he expected, especially after his political plans are sidelined by God (Morgan Freeman) asking him to take time off work and build an ark.
Initially determined to carry on with his own life plans, Evan, a meticulously groomed man with an aversion to animals, balks at the command. He tries to ignore the hordes of critters gathering outside his workplace and home, while assuring his office assistants (Wanda Sykes, John Michael Higgins, Jonah Hill) that everything's okay. He even attempts to give away the piles of lumber that are mysteriously delivered to his address. But when his whiskers grow back as quickly as he shaves them off, Evan has to admit something is up.
However, his wife, Joan (Lauren Graham), and their three sons Dylan (Johnny Simmons), Jordan (Graham Phillips) and Ryan (Jimmy Bennett) aren't so sure. They fear the shaggy facial hair and antediluvian robes are the result of a midlife crisis sparked by the stress of his new position and a recent move, rather than revelation. Only after some spiritual enlightenment of her own does Joan see the bigger picture and realize prayers are answered with opportunities. In this case, it's the chance to reconnect their fragmented relationships.
Like Bruce Almighty (in which the Supreme Being temporarily hands over his powers to a human), those familiar with the biblical story of Noah might find this modern retelling full of corrupt government officials (John Goodman) and badgering neighbors to be a bit irreverent. Yet despite Carell's corny interpretation of the frustrated patriarch, his character learns to exercise faith in a patient and caring Omnipotent Sovereign even when blue skies fail to produce a hint of rain.
With expanding filming fees and actual animals for costars, Evan Almighty may have tested the faith (and patience) of the movie's producers as well. Still, while religious figures can be risky to portray, particularly in a comedic fashion, this creature-filled adventure comes with a boatload of funny lines and moral gems about trust, faith, commitment and family bonds. Revealing the simple methods by which great things can be accomplished, it offers some family friendly entertainment that isn't flooded with content concerns.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Evan Almighty.
Although Evan’s life ambition is to change the world, why is he hesitant to accept the job of building an ark? What does Joan learn about the way prayers are answered?
What sacrifices does the Baxter family make for their father’s career? What impact does the ark have on them? How would you respond to such an odd request?
What are some of the film’s inconsistencies? Why are animals like elephants and zebras included? You may also want to compare the movie script with the account of Noah, found in the book of Genesis in the Bible.