Thursday, 19 July 2007

Evan Almighty-Review by Emma J Lennox

Written by Steve Oedekerk
Directed by Tom Shadyac
95 Minutes

Rated PG
Released August 3rd

Steve Carell must have a strong threshold for pain. Throughout the majority of God-tastic, Bible romp, Evan Almighty, Carell is prat falling, screaming and tumbling off of logs. I doubt, however, he would be able to sit through an excruciating, laugh deprived 95mins of this film. It's left to the audience to suffer, and the experience of watching this fanatical boat builder is like hammering a blunt nail through the cuticle. To add insult to the injury, its use of CGI animals and Washington- bashing tsunamis, makes it the most expensive comedy ever made. If they had added grainy BBC documentary footage and spent the estimated $175 million on a decent script they might have produced a watchable movie. Inspired by looming deficits the production uses 'gentle' humour in order to target the widest demographic possible (and who wouldn't laugh at a crotch obsessed dog?) It's not clever, it's not imaginative, it's a comedy made by an accountant.

Carell is Evan Baxter, a recently appointed member of Congress, apparently elected on his vague policy promise to “change the world.” Yet God (Morgan Freeman) has a special plan for him in which he wants Evan to build an ark just like Noah. That's it. That's the premise, and for a feature film it's weaker than Paris Hilton's credibility. There are environmentalist themes to appease the 'liberals' but overall the God mixed with politics stuff is too conservative and overbearing. As Evan is further immersed onto 'God's path' he becomes a full blown 'beardy weirdy' with matching robes. Inevitably Evan begins to 'learn lessons' and becomes sincere in an inappropriate fundamentalist manner. “What makes you think God chose you?” one cynical reporter asks Evan, “he chose all of us” is the earnest reply. A better question might have been “what happened to all that free will stuff we were supposed to have?” But this is family entertainment, and to prove it Carell does some pre- school clowning and a 'hilarious' dance. Evan Almighty is nothing short of stupid, and its harmonious 'all creatures great and small' ending will have you wringing the neck of the next llama you see.

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