After Evan Almighty , we may have to add an 11th commandment: Thou shalt laugh. That's perhaps the only way this Sunday school lesson disguised as a comedy will get the job done. Less a sequel than a spinoff, Evan Almighty follows Bruce Almighty, where Jim Carrey played an ordinary guy endowed with God-like powers. Here, Steve Carell plays an ordinary guy who's commanded by God to build him an ark. A modern-day Noah, in other words, and if you're thinking Bill Cosby basically got here first, you're right. Evan Almighty also leans on Oh, God! , where George Burns played The Big Guy Upstairs, here handled by Morgan Freeman with that Cheshire-cat grin of his. What the movie doesn't do is stand on its own two feet. It's poorly written, poorly directed, poorly acted and desperate to appeal to both the red and the blue states.
Let me see now, it's pro-family and anti-government but also pro-environment and anti-business. And to pull that off it has to tie the plot into one knot after another. Carell is Evan Baxter, the newscaster who spoke in tongues on the air in Bruce Almighty , only now he's a newly elected congressman who proudly drives a Hummer and lives in a McMansion. Not for long, though, for God's back, and boy is he pissed. Well, rather annoyed. Okay, mildly concerned. "I think it's a love story," he tells Evan's wife about the deluge he's got planned. Apparently, fighting for their lives will bring everybody together and force them to drive hybrids. Meanwhile, Evan and two of every species will be safe on the ark he built by consulting Ark Building for Dummies . (That's the level of the humor, folks.) For reasons I don't quite understand, Evan Almighty cost over $175 million. That's just under $60 million per laugh.