Movie Details

EVAN ALMIGHTY

Newly-elected to Congress, Evan leaves the city of Buffalo and herds his family to suburban northern Virginia. Once there, his life turns upside-down when God appears and commands him to build an ark. However, his befuddled family just cannot decide whether Evan is having an extraordinary mid-life crisis or is truly onto something of Biblical proportions.

Language: English
Subtitle: NA
Classification: PG
Release Date: 6 Sep 2007
Genre: Comedy
Running Time: 1 Hour 37 Minutes
Distributor: UNITED INTERNATIONAL PICTURES
Cast: Ed Helms, Steve Carell
Director:
Format: NA

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Review
Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang Yang

Writer Ratings:
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Watch this if you liked: "Bruce Almighty", "Night At The Museum"

God may be as approachable as a freckled black man in "Evan Almighty" but Steve Carell doesn't need much of His help in nailing his part as Evan Baxter, the unsuspecting newscaster-turned-politician who receives God's decree to build an Ark. However, unlike the elastic Jim Carrey in "Bruce Almighty", Carell has to carry this movie through on his own because it is ultimately a disappointing project.

After the controversy has settled down over the screening of this movie in Malaysia, one really does wonder how something so light and silly managed to create such a fuss. It is, by and large, a completely unnecessary movie - much like its predecessor, "Bruce Almighty" (which did have a few good things going for it). So unnecessary was this one, that Christian dissent (like the Catholic wrath after Alanis Morissette played God in Kevin Smith's religious satire, "Dogma") weren't even in the headlines. "Evan" was, in fact, heavily-marketed to religious groups in America by the same company who handled "Bruce Almighty", "Passion Of The Christ" and "The Da Vinci Code". What it meant is that people who are supposed to be offended, aren't, because it simply isn't important enough to be bothered about!

It's truly surprising how two lines about Evan's dilemma, plus one short profound conversation between God and Evan's wife, is enough to gloss over 95 minutes of animal slapstick and nose hair grooming. Animated features (like "Ratatouille" and "Cars") are taking the lion's share of family comedies, and market demand should pressure "Evan" into offering something more substantial, besides keeping its zany, fun edge. Failing horribly, the affair becomes a soundtrack-fuelled time-killer with little else to remember other than grand illusions of scampering animals.

That's why it's a good thing that the wooden planks used to make the Ark are thicker than the plot. Not only is it reportedly made to Biblical measurements, it looks impressive. The production is noted to be the most expensive ever for a comedy - but the humour is repetitive and cheap. Wanda Syke's part as Rita, the annoying secretary with the one-liners, stands out. Hers is only one of the many peripheral, forgettable characters that shape the film.

Perhaps local sentiments demand little but "Evan Almighty" does make references to American subculture to make it worse. Talking about 'shooting up Rogaine' (the hair-growth drug) and looking like the rock band Loggins and Messina may not find international audiences well but we forgive them because they happen so fast - in fact, just in time for the next banana skin joke to distract us. Quirky details, like a sign that reads, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin Mary" (a nod to Steve Carell's "The 40-Year-Old Virgin"), and Morgan Freeman's name tag 'Al Mighty', might have worked if this were a Tarantino film with inter-connecting 'inside jokes' but character projects - news ones especially - cannot generate such appeal.

Noah, Noah... No ahh, No ahh - this is too light. After the audience has fooled themselves into laughing through the movie, it's time to think about how easy it was to please us. Go watch Carell's "Little Miss Sunshine" instead.

Cinema Online, 23 September 2008
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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