Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Evan Almighty Review


Evan Almighty has some stiff competition to live up to. Way back in the day, John Denver's Oh, God series of movies were incredibly popular with the right-wing, family values crowd (and the rest of us, though we were too cool to mention it at the time). More recently, Jim Carrey took the stage with Bruce Almighty, with the kind of success that makes movie producers drool, and croon "sequel" under their breath. Which is probably how Evan Almighty came about to begin with, sans its star.

Enter Steve Carrell, the newest hot comic on the movie block. Carrell, though, despite his meteoric rise to fame over the last few years, has only one mega-movie lead credit to his name with The 40-Year-Old Virgin--is that really enough Hollywood clout to bring in viewers to see Evan Almighty?

The answer is yes. Plenty of fans opted to see the film on its opening day last Friday. Unfortunately for the viewers, though, once they got through the door, they weren't quite getting what they were hoping for.

It's not that Evan Almighty is a *bad* movie. Media rumor suggests it cost a whole shitload of cash to make, and we all know that heaps of money thrown at a film help prop it up to at least "okay" status. There's even cute animals to add to its appeal to the younger viewers. And as family film fodder goes, you can't do better than a Biblical parable-cum-slapstick-comedy storyline.



Unfortunately, the film doesn't do enough to attract the demographic it should be courting: urban young professionals, to whom Steve Carrell, veteran of both the Daily Show and The Office, has always held the greatest appeal.

Instead, the movie flounders somewhere between family film and so-so comedy, never really achieving the cult classic level that 40-Year-Old Virgin did. Steve Carrell, to his credit, delivers the comic lines (such as they are) with perfect timing, performs the prat falls and physical humor admirably, and comes across the screen as an engaging, likeable leading man. And the animals in the film are cute as a button, as are the film's child stars.

But where Carrell has always shone is in that edgy, slightly off-color humor, the kind of comedy that makes us cringe a little inside even while we are laughing, and this movie is just not the appropriate vehicle for that kind of humor.

As a family film, it is up there with the original Oh, God series, complete with a morally-satisfying ecologically sound storyline.

But for Carrell fans, Evan Almighty is just...Evan All Right.

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