Bruce Almighty

  • Directors: Tom Shadyac
  • Producers: Tom Shadyac, Jim Carrey, James D Brubaker, Michael Bostick, Steve Koren, Mark O Keefe
  • Writers: Steve Koren, Mark O Keefe, Steve Oedekerk
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
  • Actors: Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Ann Walter, Catherine Bell, Steve Carell, Philip Baker Hall, Nora Dunn, Eddie Jemison, Sally Kirkland

Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a television news reporter for Channel 7 Eyewitness News on WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York who is unsuccessful at getting a job as an anchorman. After a series of other incidents of ill fortune, he complains to God that He is treating him (Bruce) unfairly and is doing a poor job as supreme deity. God then contacts Bruce in human form (Morgan Freeman) and grants him all of His power so as to prove which one is the better handler thereof. Bruce uses his new-found powers for personal gain: he sabotages a colleague named Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) who had cheated him; takes revenge on a street gang who beat him earlier in the film; transforms his car from a Datsun 240Z to a Saleen S7; allows his favorite hockey team, the Buffalo Sabres, to win the Stanley Cup; places command on a dog to use the toilet for urination; and enhances the breasts and sex drive of his girlfriend, Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston).

Bruce endangers his relationship with Grace through his self-centered behavior. God then reminds Bruce that “He” has the task of resolving other people’s problems. God, at this, quotes a line from one of Carrey’s other movies (“Alrighty then”, from Ace Ventura), and tells Bruce that if he wants, Bruce can fix all the world’s problems in a few minutes, knowing that this is untrue. Bruce later receives millions of prayers, all of which, according to God, originate only from a few streets in his own town. Bruce is thus able to realize how much work God must do to keep the cosmos “in line”.

Depressed, Bruce walks onto a highway. Ultimately Bruce realizes that God’s powers are best left for God to handle and asks God to take control of his life. Right after that he is killed by collision with a truck. He is then shown in Heaven, where God asks him “what he really wants”. In answer, Bruce asks that Grace find a man who may make her truly happy and see her through God’s eyes. At this, Bruce is revived by paramedics. Later, Bruce has returned to his earlier field of reporting and is content with it; donates blood for a transfusion; and becomes engaged to marry Grace. The ending scene features a slow close-up of the homeless man, whose image morphs slightly and he is revealed to be God. This echoes a line of Joan Osborne’s song, One of Us, which Bruce is shown singing after his acquisition of the divine power.

Shall We Dance

  • Directors: Peter Chelsom
  • Producers: Simon Fields, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein
  • Writers: Masayuki Suo title Shall We Dance original screenplay, Audrey Wells
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez, Susan Sarandon, Lisa Ann Walter, Stanley Tucci

John Clark (Richard Gere) is a lawyer with a charming wife and a loving family, who nevertheless feels that something is missing as he makes his way every day through the city. Each evening on his commute home through Chicago, John sees a beautiful woman staring with a lost expression through the window of a dance studio. Haunted by her gaze, John impulsively jumps off the train one night, and signs up for ballroom dancing lessons, hoping to meet her. At first, it seems like a mistake. His teacher turns out to be not Paulina (Jennifer Lopez), but the older Miss Mitzi (Anita Gillette), and John proves just as clumsy as his equally clueless classmates on the dance-floor. Even worse, when he does meet Paulina, she icily tells John she hopes he has come to the studio to seriously study dance and not to look for a date. But, as his lessons continue, John falls in love with dancing. Keeping his new obsession from his family and co-workers, John feverishly trains for Chicago’s biggest dance competition. His friendship with Paulina blossoms, as his enthusiasm rekindles her own lost passion for dance. But the more time John spends away from home, the more his wife Beverly (Susan Sarandon) becomes suspicious. With his secret about to be revealed, John has to do some fancy footwork to keep his dream going and realize what it is he really yearns for.