Evan Almighty

Film
1 out of 5 stars
COME SAIL AWAY Carell makes a rain date.
COME SAIL AWAY Carell makes a rain date.

Time Out says

1 out of 5 stars

Desperation seeps out of every nook and cranny of Evan Almighty, a monolithically dumb Hollywood vehicle that, like the capacious ark of its neo--Noah story, seems better suited to the tramplings of hundreds of digital animals than the small-scale charms of actual human beings. Can Steve Carell have jumped the shark so soon? No, but rarely has a movie seemed so illustrative of the principle of miscasting: Carrel’s squirmy nervousness—perfect for a junior congressman who’s picked by God for some unwilling environmental campaigning—is here amplified to a panicky shriek. It echoes in canyons designed for broader comedians of yore.

Speaking of Jim Carrey, he’s nowhere to be found in his own sequel. (Morgan Freeman continues with his hepcat deity shtick from Bruce Almighty.) While some might point to this absence as a changing of the guard, the observation is clearly premature; as long as summer tent poles are hoisted for high-concept bigness, they’ll require stars who can fill those projects with outsize egos. Carell isn’t the only one straining against the nature of his appeal: Wanda Sykes, as an aide, suddenly seems just a tiresome sass source, while John Goodman, paradoxically, is not called on for the bluster he’s capable of. The biblical messaging, benign and nonapocalyptic, will no doubt appeal to many viewers too young or too selectively aware of Old Testament wrath. But you don’t have to be a believer to draw the line at multiple dung jokes and a postclimax dance routine set to C+C Music Factory. (Opens Fri; Click here for venues.) — Joshua Rothkopf

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