The lights dim and it’s all aboard for this crazy 21st century Noah’s ark saga as we join Steve Carell, currently Hollywood’s favourite comedy son, reprising his role from 2003’s hugely successful Bruce Almighty. He plays Evan Baxter, TV reporter turned Congressman who is visited by God (Morgan Freeman) and instructed to build an ark causing upheaval to his blossoming career and family life.
It’s quickly apparent that the storyline is scattergun at best and ludicrous at worst. Imagine The Santa Clause without Christmas. Carell, who shone so brightly playing the goofball in Anchorman and Little Miss Sunshine, finds his light vastly dimmed when put in the role of responsible parent and politician. His character’s decline into apparent madness is laboured and, at times, ineffective. Worst is the film’s tendency to veer from the simple to the overcomplicated in consecutive scenes making it pretty tough to digest.
In contrast, there’s the computer wizardry on display. Reportedly pushing $200 million, it’s the most expensive comedy ever made. This statistic alone is mind-blowing. To spend so much money perfecting the look of the film is criminal when you consider just how poorly scripted it is. As the film progresses, we’re subjected to long sequences of turgid dialogue followed by a visual feast of computer-generated animal mayhem, all ending with a glorious poster-perfect money shot. It’s a great series of images but that’s really all it is and this may explain why the trailer appealed so much.
Despite all these negative points, the film still has its moments – Morgan Freeman has his mischievous God down pat now - and at the end the smile on my face told the real story. In particular, keep an eye out for the nod to Hitchcock’s The Birds and the hilarious dancing cast as the credits roll.
Evan Almighty is a wholesome family film, heart-warming, and with a strong message promoting family values and the importance of environmental concern. Considering the younger audience to which it is quite clearly aimed it seems strange that they didn’t push harder for a Universal certificate considering how close they came.
Commissioned by Local Secrets online magazine...