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Vol. LXI, No. 26
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

HOW WILL I GET THEM BELOW DECKS WITHOUT AN ELEVATOR?: Modern day Noah Evan Baxter (Steve Carrels) hopes his modern version of Noah's ark will have enough room for two large elephants.

Evan Almighty: God Asks Modern-Day Noah to Build Ark in Comedy

Kam Williams

Steve Carrell's breakout role came in Bruce Almighty (2003) where, as TV news anchorman Evan Baxter, he upstaged the film's star, Jim Carrey, in every scene they shared. In fact, he was so memorable, in a role that really amounted to not much more than a cameo, that his career has since enjoyed a meteoric rise.

Carrell followed up his initial success with several hit films, including Little Miss Sunshine, The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Over the Hedge, Anchorman, and Bewitched. On top of that, he won a Golden Globe for his work in The Office, the NBC sitcom which won the Emmy in 2006 as the year's Outstanding Comedy Series.

Since Steve is currently more of a box office draw than Carrey, it's no surprise that the sequel to Bruce Almighty is called Evan Almighty instead of Bruce Almighty 2. In fact, the movie doesn't even mention Bruce or explain his absence.

Soon after the opening credits, a tearful Evan bids farewell to Buffalo and leaves town accompanied by his wife Joan (Lauren Graham) and their sons, Dylan (Johnny Simmons), Jordan (Graham Phillips), and Ryan (Jimmy Bennett). They're going to Washington, D.C. where Evan will be sworn in to represent his hometown as its newly elected Congressman.

Upon their arrival, the family is welcomed by Eve Adams (Molly Shannon), the syrupy realtor who sold them their recently completed McMansion located in an exclusive community called Prestige Crest. Unbeknownst to the Baxters, the development is a hazardous material disaster waiting to happen. In fact, it was built as a result of a crooked land deal arranged by corrupt Congressman Long (John Goodman) who is now pressuring Evan to co-sponsor another bill that would further destabilize the eco-system.

Fortunately, God intervenes in the person of Morgan Freeman. This time, rather than surrender his powers temporarily (as he did to Bruce in Bruce Almighty), he uses them to persuade Evan to build an ark.

At every turn Evan sees "Genesis 6:14" (a scripture reference which reads "Make thee an ark of gopher wood") on his license plate, his alarm clock, etcetera.

However, the Congressman initially ignores the divine call in order to keep his campaign promise to "change the world." His staff includes an intern (Jonah Hill) and an executive assistant (Wanda Sykes) who shoots off a steady stream of non-sequiturs such as "Do you smell anthrax?" and "Are you on that Phen-Phen?"

Unfortunately, neither the assistant's clever asides nor the special effects can save this movie which has too many infantile animal jokes, especially of the "poop landing on head" and "swift kick to the crotch" variety. In addition, the picture is filled with ad placements for C-SPAN, Quaker cereal, Century 21, The Home Depot, Hummer, Barbasol shaving cream, Dell computers, NBC, Coca-Cola, and the U.S. Postal Service; which will probably help the producers recoup the close to $200 million reportedly spent making the movie.

Like a modern day Noah, Evan grows a beard, dons a robe, and sets aside worldly concerns to build a mammoth ark as commanded. And, of course, two animals of every species soon start showing up in anticipation of the great flood which, when it arrives, vindicates our devout protagonist in the eyes of his neighbors, his colleagues, the media, and a host of other non-believers.

A corporate sponsored family comedy in which a familiar Biblical tale about sin is changed into a contemporary allegory about saving the environment.

Fair (1½ stars). Rated PG for crude humor and scenes of peril. Running time: 96 minutes. Studio: Universal Pictures.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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