Cruel God

Bruce Almighty
Starring Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman and Jennifer Aniston. Directed by Tom Shadyak. Rated PG-13.
Rated 3.0 Bruce Almighty is about a man so self-obsessed it takes several acts of God to pull his head out of his … career.

It stars Jim Carrey as the man and Morgan Freeman as the Man Upstairs and is funny, witty, meandering and weird. Based on the universal daydream, Almighty casts Carrey as Bruce, a TV newsman frustrated with his life, constantly badgering the Almighty with pleas to give him all he wants. Tired of whining, God does one better, giving Bruce all His powers and letting him have at it.

It’s funny for about 40 minutes. Regrettably, the movie is 94 minutes long.

As grand a premise for comedy as this is, and as sweetly as it’s teed up for Carrey, Almighty doesn’t get funnier as it goes on, but creepier.

Flush with his new stature, Bruce at first does what we’d expect: remakes his life with him as the star, flush with possessions, the It guy at work, while torturing his enemies. Then he does the same at second, and third and fourth. As the film goes on, his scope of action remains narrowed on his acquaintances. The idea of feeding the hungry and establishing world peace is derided as a sucker’s dream. By God, no less.

The impression is the opposite of most films, which reveal jerks to be good guys underneath. Almighty reveals Bruce to be a nice guy who’s really a jerk. It’s like lead in the comedy.

Jennifer Aniston makes a game appearance as Bruce’s girlfriend, but most of the time the creators set her up as an object of pity, even while she’s dating a god.

Bruce is funny for what little tricks it tries, but given the talent involved it should have been, well, almighty.