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Peter T Chattaway

Evan Almighty

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Oh, absolutely. Though the filmmakers would have faced a similar challenge tailoring the script to fit the Jim Carrey character, too. At any rate, I actually like that they took care of this "sop to continuity" right off the bat, and didn't linger on it.

(Sorry, Christian, if I forgot to post a smiley or two. :) )


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Oh, absolutely. Though the filmmakers would have faced a similar challenge tailoring the script to fit the Jim Carrey character, too. At any rate, I actually like that they took care of this "sop to continuity" right off the bat, and didn't linger on it.

Agreed on the appreciation for the non-lingering sop. (I love it when I get to write a sentence like that!)

Hmm, fitting the script for the Carrey character would probably have been more difficult, wouldn't it? I mean, Bruce already knows God, so that whole series of gags involving God convincing the protagonist that He Is Who He Is is out the window. Instead of "Do I know you?" it would be "You again!" or something.

Plus, if it feels odd having a film called Evan Almighty when in fact Evan isn't anything like almighty, or even mightier than average, just think how odd it would be to have Bruce Almighty 2 with Bruce himself not at all almighty.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Yeah, good points.

I almost feel sad for this movie, the way the title was virtually forced on it. The title Bruce Almighty is brilliant because "Bruce" is such a "guy's" name -- you can easily imagine a regular guy sitting back with a beer and some friends and, in his dreams at least, a hot girlfriend. It is the complete opposite of what you would expect an "almighty" person to be named. But nobody had any clue that the sequel would be about Evan, and so nobody thought to give the character a name that would carry any thematic heft. And for sheer branding purposes, they were pretty much obliged to hang on to the word "almighty", even though, as you point out, Evan is anything BUT almighty in this film. (In fact, it is interesting to ponder that Evan has been the butt of divine powers, and the butt of an amused deity or deity-proxy, in two consecutive movies now. Either it was Bruce, endowed with all God's powers, making Evan do stupid things against his will; or it is God himself compelling him to do things that are still somewhat stupid: building the ark is one thing, but what about the hair, the vanishing clothes, etc.?)

Complete non sequitur: I was intrigued by the fact that Jon Stewart played himself as one of the people who mocks Evan while he is building the ark. I found myself wondering if it might be sort of a tacit, self-critical admission that the comedians who poke fun at religious types are sometimes on the wrong side.

But that's probably reading too much into it.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Complete non sequitur: I was intrigued by the fact that Jon Stewart played himself as one of the people who mocks Evan while he is building the ark. I found myself wondering if it might be sort of a tacit, self-critical admission that the comedians who poke fun at religious types are sometimes on the wrong side.

But that's probably reading too much into it.

Maybe. Stewart and Carell worked together at "The Daily Show" for several years.

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Hollywood's leap of faith with 'Evan Almighty'

Universal Pictures hopes to honor -- not belittle -- religious devotion with its ark-building comedy.

Los Angeles Times, June 20


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Mark Moring interviews Tom Shadyac. Nikki Finke ("Oh. My. God.") and Cinematical ("I guess it's no wonder that director Tom Shadyac has embarassed himself so mightily during the film's promotion. The interview he did with Christianity Today, posted on their site on Monday, is pandering on an almost superhuman level.") do double-takes.

(FWIW, I interviewed Tom Shadyac too, albeit as part of a roundtable.)

(I also wrote an article on Ark Almighty which happens to quote one of this board's participants...)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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From Ryan Stewart's Cinematical bit:

Most of the rest of the interview is a lot of painful-to-read jousting, as the interviewer keeps trying to get Shadyac to label himself and the film as sort of 'by Christians, for Christians,' and Shadyac keeps trying to slip away with hippie-dippie statements about Jesus being his hero, and so forth.

I don't think Stewart caught the vibe of Mark Moring's questions At All.

If anything, I think Mark was willing to give Shadyac room to distance himself from a "by Christians, for Christians" perception.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Don't know if anyone here has seen my blog post yet about last night's Late Night with Conan O'Brien, but if I can expand on it here...

It's nothing major, but basically, Wanda Sykes was on, promoting Evan Almighty, and it was so bizarre to hear her talk about how weird it was to be interviewed by a nun, because I WAS THERE for the original conversation between them.

I was actually sitting right next to Sr. Rose Pacatte when Sr. Rose asked Wanda if she was going to be on Jay Leno's show -- and apparently Wanda was weirded out by the thought that a nun would watch Leno (and then she told Conan it would be even weirder if the nun stayed up late to watch Conan, what with recurring characters like the "masturbating bear" and all).

And I vividly remember Sr. Rose asking about Leno, because Wanda said yeah, she would be on Leno on Monday (I think it was), and I remember thinking I should remember to watch the show that night -- precisely so that I could have that "Hey, I just interviewed that person the other day" experience.

I'd love to ask Sr. Rose what she makes of Wanda's claim that, when she saw that there was a nun in the room, she went back outside and cussed for two minutes just to get the cussing out of her, before coming back inside for the roundtable interview. (I'm sure Wanda was joking, but still! And, y'know, come to think of it, she DID linger outside for a bit, IIRC...)

The night before, my wife and I watched Conan interview Steve Carell, and when Conan said, "Now they say you should never work with animals and children..." I said to my wife, "Hey, that's the exact same question *I* asked," and then I predicted Carell's answer more-or-less accurately. :)

Oh, and complete non sequitur: My priest saw the film last night, and his one-sentence summary of it was: "A heavy-handed treatment of a lightweight theme."

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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SDG, bells went off in my head when I read this, from your review:

"Harmless, diverting, very mildly uplifting"

--Exactly! I've been asked three times what I thought of this film, and now you've expressed my jumbled notions in five words. I found it hard to be hard on this film because it's so ... well, harmless. But it's not particularly noteworthy in any way either.

A "C+" is about right.

Oh, hey, look what's up. But no need to read it. 850 words from me, and you summed up my overall take in five.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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James Dobson writes tacks on his own review of


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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CT's review is up.

Carolyn Arends describes it as being just shy of a masterpiece, and gives it 3.5 out of 4.

...a little too sloppy to be considered a masterpiece. But the filmmakers have managed to make a truly entertaining film that invites viewers to contemplate the rather big idea that we're all "chosen" to be in relationship with

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

 

"Forget it, Jake. It's Funkytown."    

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Checking Rotten Tomatoes, I discover that one of only two positive reviews for


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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:blink: Really? I read it quickly, noted that it had one sentence summing up his opinion, but don't remember anything jumping out at me.

As far as review errors go, Stephen Hunter gets the Genesis verse wrong in today's print edition of the Washington Post. And it's still posted, with the mistake, as I write this post at 12:50 p.m. Eastern Time:

The frail idea that supports the most expensive comedy ever made ($210 million) is that a freshman congressman of good-hearted earnestness but unbelievable naivete (Carell) is designated by God (Morgan Freeman, so damn twinkly he could put the night sky out of business) as Noah: The Sequel. The first dead giveaway is a clock radio that reads Gen. 4:16 every morning. The next is the arrival of hand tools and several tons of gopherwood. Next: all those animals, two by two. Hmmm, is this a trend or has life indeed gone all biblical for Carell's poor Evan Baxter?

So, seeing that Hunter will be online today for the weekly Post movie chat, I submitted this question. I meant it in good fun; I hope it doesn't sound too snarky:

Hey, Stephen, it may be time to put down your back issue of "Guns & Ammo" and pick up the Old Testament.

In case you haven't heard, you transposed the Genesis reference for "Evan Almighty" in your review. You said Evan's General Electric alarm clock awakens Evan at 4:16, rather than the correct 6:14. So the corresponding verse in Genesis, according to your review, is not a command to build an ark of wood, but is instead, "So Cain went out from the Lord's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden."

If Shadyac had made a movie based on that verse, do you think it would've been funnier than "Evan Almighty"? Also, based on your review, would you blame the error on the heavy drinking you undertook immediately upon leaving the theater at the conclusion of this film?

Actually, I thought Evan was cute for the under-10 set, but surprisingly mild for everyone else.

By the way, as of 12:35 p.m., as I submit this question, your review still contains the Genesis error.

If he takes the question, I'll post his response here.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Hunter gets the joke:

ArtMovieLover, Va.: Hey, Stephen, it may be time to put down your back issue of "Guns & Ammo" and pick up the Old Testament.

In case you haven't heard, you transposed the Genesis reference for "Evan Almighty" in your review. You said Evan's General Electric alarm clock awakens Evan at 4:16, rather than the correct 6:14. So the corresponding verse in Genesis, according to your review, is not a command to build an ark of wood, but is instead, "So Cain went out from the Lord's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden."

If Shadyac had made a movie based on that verse, do you think it would've been funnier than "Evan Almighty"? Also, based on your review, would you blame the error on the heavy drinking you undertook immediately upon leaving the theater at the conclusion of this film?

Actually, I thought "Evan" was cute for the under-10 set, but surprisingly mild for everyone else.

By the way, as of 12:35 p.m., as I submit this question, your review still contains the Genesis error.

Stephen Hunter: Yeah, I blew the Genesis ref. I think it was because of the heavy drinking BEFORE the review, not after the movie. But I find your point about my scrambled ref being funnier than the one Shadyac chose to be very funny and take pleasure in sharing it with the victims of this chat. And, for safety's sake, I never shoot or read Guns and Ammo after a drink.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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James Dobson wrote:

: We perceived Evan Almighty as a very entertaining movie which, although "over the top" at times in its slapstick humor, will delight most viewers. It has many laudable features, including a strong presentation of family values and a "feel good" ending.

There is just something strangely eye-catching about a guy who puts words like "over the top" and "feel good" in ironic quotes, but not "family values".


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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:blink: Really? I read it quickly, noted that it had one sentence summing up his opinion, but don't remember anything jumping out at me.
Okay, maybe it wasn't that many, but this sentence seems strangely imprecise to me:

In this farcical sequel to Bruce Almighty (2003), God is still a janitor played by Morgan Freeman, but the Buffalo newscaster played by Jim Carrey is now a Buffalo newscaster-turned-congressman played by The 40 Year Old Virgin's Steve Carell.

FWIW, Rosenbaum's not the only critic who seems to confuse the characters played by Carell and Carrey (as I noted in the opening of my review, lots of people probably don't even realize that Carell was in the first film as a separate character). That could be an awkward styling on R's part; OTOH, while Freeman's God adopts various guises here including taxi driver, pedestrian, Congressman and soda jerk, I don't remember him doing any janitoring.

Also, I wonder what this bit means:

Freeman's God is a mix of Old and New Testament, with a dash of both sexism and sitcom

Any passing or casual invocation of "Old Testament" vs. "New Testament" is likely dodgy in my book. (And I hope "with both sexism and sitcom" wasn't meant as a parallel pairing! :lol: )


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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SDG wrote:

: OTOH, while Freeman's God adopts various guises here including taxi driver, pedestrian, Congressman and soda jerk, I don't remember him doing any janitoring.

I remember counting the number of guises in which Freeman turns up, and stopping after five or so. The first film had him appear in three different guises, which had some people talking about the film's Trinitarian subtext; but this film went beyond three, and thus did not continue that.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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SDG, bells went off in my head when I read this, from your review:

"Harmless, diverting, very mildly uplifting" ...

Oh, hey, look what's up. But no need to read it. 850 words from me, and you summed up my overall take in five.

Didn't mean to let this pass without comment -- thanks Christian! ::blush::

FWIW, you may have written 850 words and liked my five... but don't forget, you cherry-picked those five words from a review that was closer to 1300 words! :D


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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My review has received its first reader comment.

The reviewer seems to like this movie. Too bad the reviewer has not read the Bible in recent decades. Mocking God is never the right thing to do. Using God as a character in a movie with a distinct environmentalist-whacko message is just about as near to blaspheny as anyone can get. I don't see why the reviewer says that the violent moments are funny. Maybe comedy was funny before the Three Stooges or Lucille Ball, but it hasn't been funny since.

--Dale Prins? Is that you?

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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The reviewer seems to like this movie. Too bad the reviewer has not read the Bible in recent decades.

Why? Has the Bible changed all that much in recent decades, since Christian last read it? :P


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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Maybe comedy was funny before the Three Stooges or Lucille Ball, but it hasn't been funny since.

Great. If comedy hasn't been funny since the Three Stooger or Lucille Ball, what have I been laughing at all these years?


"You guys don't really know who you're dealing with."

"Oh yeah, and who exactly are we dealing with?"

"I'm the mother flippin' rhymenoceros."

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Christian, I'm curious about this statement at the end of your review.

Environmentalism: Though not preachy, the film has a mild pro-environment message that distorts the biblical idea of man

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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