I wasn’t sure for, like, three days what I thought of this movie. Don’t get me wrong, I had a good time watching it. It made me laugh and stuff. Several times. Kinda hard even. Classic scenes and whatnot.
But I still couldn’t figure out what it was that this movie made me think. Part of the problem was that, for most of the movie, director Tom Shadyac (hey I learned that’s pronounced Shady-yak; living in a company town finally pays off, eh?) didn’t plan I would think anything. Mostly it was a fun, mindless comedy. A story about an everyman that pretty much everyone in the audience could sympathize with. And, to me, that’s what about 90% of films should be.
There were a few points where it turned preachy. At the end, when Bruce was talking with God about being Almighty, they went a little over on the schmaltz. But then it is a stupid comedy, so it’s important to not be too particular about these things. Somebody who went into a theater expecting classic work from Jim Carrey and Tom Shadyac would be, well, a critic. And this movie got panned for its shallowness and contrived plot. But who needs a flawless and deep stupid comedy? Where’s the fun in that?
The rest of the movie was all fun. A few sight gags, great one-liners, and some facial gymnastics by Jim Carrey. Just what you expect from a Carrey flick. But, still, it left something in the back of my head. And I didn’t realize it until I was half-awake two mornings later.
I was thinking about the movie, about writing this review, and realized I was seeing every scene in my head – but with Adam Sandler, not Jim Carrey. And there was no difference. None at all.
So how is it that the 40-some-year-old Carrey is interchangeable with the 30ish Sandler? How is it that this movie could’ve been made with either of them?
It’s perhaps the curse of the well-executed generic comedy that it can be lead by any one of several stars. Classically, it’s the character of the star that is projected throughout the movie and that makes the picture unique. And, well, Carrey added none of that here. It was all heartwarming feel, no rubber face and stretchy arms. And, when you get beyond that, Carrey is just every everyman.
The only question: can Sandler bring in a $100 million opening? Well, maybe that is Carrey’s unique print on Bruce Almighty.