Steve Carrell stars in Evan Almighty, a comedy event of biblical proportions. A follow-up to 2003's Bruce Almighty, Evan Almighty falls prey to the same predictable storyline and unfunny performances as its predecessor. The movie centers on Evan Baxter (Steve Carrell), a news anchorman turned Congressman who has just moved into a new house with his wife Joan (Lauren Graham) and his 3 sons. Baxter just begins settling into his new job, and even manages to get his name placed on a major bill with head Congressman Long (John Goodman). But Evan's life is thrown awry when the God (Morgan Freeman) himself comes and asks Evan to complete a holy mission. He is to build an ark in preparation for an upcoming flood. Evan's everyday life soon becomes overrun with extra facial hair and animals (2 of each, hardy har har), as he attempts to build his giant boat all while trying to convince his family and everyone else that he is not insane. Evan Almighty is chock full of silly slapstick and bird feces, but is completely void of entertainment and merit.
Jim Carrey and Jennifer Aniston were smart enough to turn down roles in this witless, uninspiring sequel. Tom Shadyac returns as director, and doesn't do a terrible job I must admit. One of the few things that were respectable about Evan Almighty was the special effects. The majority of the film was not impressive, but the scenes where the ark is in action were executed pretty well. Steve Oedekerk, who wrote Bruce Almighty, also returned to pen this screenplay. You can tell the same man wrote both scripts because the dialogue is dry and the progression of both films is not carried very well at all. Evan Almighty becomes a chore to sit through and sometimes becomes unintentionally unbearable.
Steve Carrell does the best that he can with the material he was given as Evan Baxter. Unfortunately, Carrell is reduced to goofball antics to try and get cheap laughs out of the young viewers in the audience. Several times his performance reminded me of an unfunny copy of his character Michael Scott on The Office. It became very visible that Carrell was digging as deep as he could to produce funny material, but came up short every time. Oscar winner Morgan Freeman renews his role as God because he probably had time to kill before The Dark Knight began filming. Freeman appears to be going through the motions and didn't provoke any response, spiritual or emotional, from me even as he gives a speech on the true meaning of the story of Noah. I was simply unimpressed. John Goodman acts as the "villain" of the movie Congressman Long. I watched Evan Almighty twice and I'm still unsure as to why he is the bad guy, but I just played along. Goodman does an OK job here, although it sometimes feels like pulling teeth when he has to look menacing and be disgruntled. A truly awful performance would be the way to describe Lauren Graham's portrayal of a distressed wife of a possibly crazy husband. I was not convinced that this woman was feeling any kind of emotional unrest, and there was not a hint of chemistry between her and Carrell. Comedian Wanda Sykes also has a role in Evan Almighty as Evan's assistant Rita. Basically, whether you enjoy her presence is based on whether you hate her or like her. I hate her. The one genuinely funny performance is given by Jonah Hill, who has previously shown his comedic talents in films such as Superbad and Knocked Up. His role in Evan Almighty is very small, but his on screen charisma and ability to deliver deadpan comedy makes every scene he is in enjoyable.
Evan Almighty is a family friendly film and I do not doubt that some children will enjoy the grade school humor and the cute little animals. But for anybody age 14 and up, this film will just be unsatisfying schlock. Evan Almighty was the most expensive comedy film ever made, but tanked at the box office only bring back slightly more than half its budget. I take some solace in this fact because it tells me that people do have self control and won't spend money to see anything that is put in front of them. Maybe this stand can be taken for movies such as Epic Movie and Date Movie, and we can keep those sequels from soiling our country. In the meantime, don't bother watching Evan Almighty. My rating (4/10)