Evan Almighty

  • Directors: Tom Shadyac
  • Producers: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Michael Bostick, Neal H Moritz, Tom Shadyac
  • Writers: Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow, Steve Oedekerk, Steve Koren, Mark O Keefe
  • Genres: Comedy, Fantasy
  • Actors: Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman, Lauren Graham, John Goodman, Wanda Sykes, Molly Shannon, Graham Phillips

Newly elected to Congress, former local television newsman Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) leaves Buffalo and shepherds his family to suburban northern Virginia, where his congressional campaign declares that he will change the world without explaining how he will do so. On his first job, he meets Marty (John Michael Higgins), Rita Daniels (Wanda Sykes), and top congressman Chuck Long (John Goodman). Soon after his arrival, strange things start to happen: animals follow Evan without any apparent reason; he grows a beard that is restored wholly every time he shaves; eight vacant lots in Evan’s neighborhood are purchased in his name; ancient tools and wood are sent to his house; and the number “614” appears everywhere he goes.

Evan soon learns that the number indicates a verse in the book of Genesis, in which God instructs Noah to build an ark. Later, God (Morgan Freeman) appears and commands Evan to build a replica of Noah’s Ark in preparation for a deluge. His family initially believes that he is having an extraordinary mid-life crisis; later, his sons suspect that something greater is occurring and assist him in the construction of the ark, although his wife Joan (Lauren Graham) does not. Reappearing, God tells Evan the flood will come at noon on September 22.

On September 22, Evan loads hundreds of animals onto the newly finished ark in front of live news crews and nearby citizens. Minutes pass wherein is no sign of rain, provoking the spectators’ scorn. When a rainstorm is briefly present, Evan takes this as a sign of the coming deluge, but is proved wrong. Joan tells Evan to leave the Ark; Evan, however, remembers Congressman Long’s dam, which he fears may burst. As he thinks on this, the dam does burst, flooding the streets. At this, all spectators and policeman board the ark, which sails down the streets of Washington D.C. on the floodwaters of the lake until it eventually lands touching the front of the Capitol. Evan then tells Long that the flood was caused by his poor design of the dam, which incites the other congressmen present to turn against Long. As investigations on Chuck Long are occurring, Evan and his family later go on a hiking trip, during which God reappears to Evan, telling him that the way to change the world is by doing one Act of Random Kindness (“ARK”) at a time.

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.