29 June 2007

HOLY TERROR

Honestly, there doesn't seem to be any reason to dogpile on the summer's first outright flop, Evan Almighty, any more than has already been done. I don't know what I could add, anyway: every single review has already mentioned that the film sucks because Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) has been twisted from the smug asshole who was the sole justification for 2003's Bruce Almighty into a stock "emotionally distant dad" (true); because there is no story logic at all for the animals to exist in this updated Noah's Ark tale (true); because the idea of God (Morgan Freeman) commissioning an ark because he wants to flood a McMansion suburban tract is theologically incoherent (true); because it's a disgusting validation of the "Hollywood liberals are elitist!" meme that director Tom Shadyac and his merry men thought that they could pawn this sort of swill off on the American Christian moviegoer (true); because the $175 million budget is nowhere to be seen onscreen (true); and above all else, because Evan Almighty is unapologetically, aggressively unfunny (so, so true).

So I'm not going to do that. Instead, I thought it might be fun to think up some other ideas for family comedies that make a complete hatchet job of biblical narratives:

-Rita Almighty: Former congressional aide Rita (Evan's Wanda Sykes) gets a job as a bartender, where she listens to people complain about their lives and more importantly, their dreams, which she can interpret with uncanny precision - thanks to God (Morgan Freeman), of course. At first, she uses her amazing ability just to gain notoriety as a TV personality, but when the President of the United States comes to her with a dream that prefigures a massive drought, she learns that it is important to use your skills for the betterment of all.

-Eugene Almighty: Intern Eugene (Evan's Jonah Hill) leaves Washington to work as a forest ranger. Although he enjoys working with kids, he gets increasingly frustrated at the cruelty of one of his fellow rangers, a great tall bully who enjoys terrorizing the little ones. God (Morgan Freeman) asks Eugene to step up and save the children by beating the bully with a slingshot, which Eugene learns to shoot in a series of hilarious misadventures. In the end, the bully runs away rather than fighting, and Eugene learns an important lesson about bravery.

-Jack Almighty: News producer Jack Baylor (Bruce's Philip Baker Hall) is instructed by God (Morgan Freeman) to move to northern Canada and have plenty of children to create a new nation to stand against the decadence and corruption of the godless United States. After Jack and his estranged wife get back together in an hysterical courtship sequence, God fixes things to make the two old-timers as frisky as teenagers, thanks to a Canadian pharmaceutical company's experimental anti-aging vitamins. It's comic proof that you're never too old to enjoy life, by God!

-Marty Almighty: Evan's old chief of staff, Marty (John Michael Higgins) finds a new career in catering, and overnight becomes the biggest thing in Washington. But when, on the eve of a major peace summit , he finds himself with only five loaves of bread and two fish, it's going to take a miracle to prevent war with Pakistan! Thank God for...God (Morgan Freeman)!

-Grace Almighty: After her husband Bruce dies, Grace Nolan (Bruce's Jennifer Aniston) is left to raise their son alone. That's fine until God (Morgan Freeman) comes down to tell her that he demands the sacrifice of her child. Thinking God is just playing around, Grace ignores the request - then he rains brimstone upon her city and visits plagues upon the children of her family verily unto the seventh generation. Their women are raped and sold as slaves. In a very funny way, of course.

-Jon Almighty: TV personality Jon Stewart (Evan's Jon Stewart) is ordered by God (Morgan Freeman) to journey to the Middle East, but fearing that his brand of political commentary won't translate (also: wars) he hops on a ship for Tokyo. The side-splitting hjinks that ensue when he gets picked up by a Japanese whaling ship not only teach him a healthy respect for God's will, he also learns a thing or two about animal conservation. Also, he converts to Christianity; because, ain't no Jews in heaven.

-God Almighty: God (Morgan Freeman) comes to earth and beats Tom Shadyac about the face with a car fender for two hours. Well, I'd watch it.

2/10

2 comments:

Joe Valdez said...

Tom Shadyac is an even bigger blight on movie screens than Michael Bay. I can't recall a single film he's directed that was watchable, at least not to anyone over the age of 12.

Viewing Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Nutty Professor, Liar Liar, Patch Adams, Dragonfly and the Almighty movies back to back would be a week of suffering.

Tim said...

It's worth mentioning, I think, that the Onion AV Club has a feature this week in honor of Mr. Shadyac: Ten Directors You Didn't Know You Hated.