Evan Almighty (2007)

(Netflix Streaming, October 2015)  I’m genuinely perplexed at Evan Almighty, and not for any single one reason.   I’m perplexed, for instance, at the film’s insistence at tying itself to Bruce Almighty through a tenuous set of coincidences (as in; a minor character of the first film becoming a congressman and seemingly changing personalities entirely –this makes more sense when you know that the script was developed as its own thing and was then retrofitted to become part of a series)  I’m perplexed at the guts it must have taken to take an explicitly religious topic (as in; God telling the protagonist to build an ark, because a flood is coming) and turn it in an expensive special-effects-driven mainstream comedy film.  I’m perplexed at the inclusion of political content in the story.  I’m perplexed at the way the film builds itself up to a biblical catastrophe… only to deliver a relatively modest disaster.  I’m perplexed at the practical scale of the film’s sets… and the moderate results delivered by the script.  Thanks to Steve Carrell and director Tom Shadyac, Evan Almighty does have its share of comic moments, although it has just as many exasperating scenes and lulls as the film underlines everything two or three times.  It doesn’t help that the story aims for profundity but falls into mediocrity: For all of its sanctimonious attitude, Evan Almighty forgets that audiences will forgive anything in an entertaining film, and condemn everything in a dull one.  Evan Almighty has serious tonal issues (Wanda Sykes is relatively entertaining, but she seems to be playing in a different film than Morgan Freeman) and scatters itself in too many directions to be successful.  The result is, as I’ve mentioned, perplexing: Why does this movie exist, and what exactly were they trying to accomplish with it?

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