Bruce we Trust?
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Date: June 2003
by Catherine von Ruhland
Don't laugh. He played the everyman little-guy-against-the world in 'The Truman Show' (true man, geddit?). He can do dark against type as 'The Cable Guy' to Jimmy S's 'Vertigo'.
in 'Bruce Almighty' it's made over-abundantly and, it has to be said, heavy-handedly
clear that the classic 'It's A Wonderful Life' is a fundamental reference point.
thing he does wrong is God's fault. Any wonder then that God (a white-suited Morgan
Freeman) calls his bluff and decides 'Right. You do it!'
his first stab at omnipotence is about childishly getting even with an unfair
world. He might have God's power but he brings his selfish humanity to the table
too. Only through a growing understanding of what love really is, of how answers
to prayer are so often through little acts of human kindness does Bruce learn
to be a more content and better person.
Jim's fans, however will be disappointed by the lack of slapstick. Nevertheless, that a mainstream Hollywood movie can be so upfront about faith in a loving Father should be celebrated. (It's a nice touch too that He should happen to be black).
What a more secular UK audience will make of it will be interesting to see. Unselfish prayer is seen to work, notably via Jennifer Aniston's underused girlfriend Grace whose heart goes out to the self-obsessed Bruce. Her belief motivates her actions: she's a nursery teacher who gives blood. Bruce Almighty isn't a great film but it does make you think.
shows strength in community, that actions great or small have consequences, and
that each one of us can make a positive difference as part of God's plan.