Bruce Almighty DVD Review

Jim Carrey is certainly not one of my favorite actors. In fact, I almost hate him. A small number of his movies have entertained me, but his over the top antics are just too much to bear for me, but Bruce Almighty is different. This is a great light comedy that caused a bit of a stir in the religious community (as everything seems to do), but can easily be enjoyed by the entire family (except for a few choice words). Jim Carrey plays Bruce Nolan, a nearly 40 year old news reporter who's life is way out of whack. Nothing goes right....until he gets ticked off at God, played by Morgan Freeman. God decides to take a vacation and gives Nolan his powers since to see if he can handle it any better. As any mere human would, Bruce screws everything up (including his relationship with Jennifer Aniston) and it becomes his job to fix everything he made wrong. This film reunites Carrey with director Tom Shadyac, the same guy who gave Carrey his big start in Ace Ventura. This one is a bit more toned down and doesn't feature Carrey going crazy like he normally does. Well, at least not as much. The writers here have succeded in creating a great comedy for the first hour, but faltered near the end. The movie takes a deep turn that seems completely out of place and it really throws the entire package off. However, you'll still cry while laughing at some of the segments and in that, it succeeds. (*** out of *****)
The DVD is available in 1.85:1 widescreen and the junky pan & scam. Reviewed here as always is the widescreen version. The print here is extremely soft and the color is almost impossible to describe. It's bright while being toned down at the same time. The darker sequences are just that: VERY dark and at times making things hard to see. The entire print is bogged down by heavy film grain that never lets up. It's not terrible, just dissapointing. (***) Picking things up after the picture is the sound. This is not a movie you would expect to have extravegant sound, but Universal added a DTS 5.1 track and standard Dobly 5.1. The sound is actually very surprising with nice usage of the rear channels and occasional strong bursts of bass. A segment in a diner has papers swirling about and it sounds superb. There is little difference between the 5.1 and DTS tracks save for some stronger bass. Either way you'll get a nice experience from an otherwise front-powered movie. (****) The special features start off with an audio commntary by the director. He's very talkative and certainly leans toward filming challenges and things of that nature. There are 6 and half minutes worth of outtakes, some hilarious, others a waste. This rather short movie obviously had some scenes cut, and the 30+ minutes of deleted and extended scenes proves it. A few of these probably should have stayed in, but as usual, most are better off where they are. There is a short documentary that mostly focuses on Jim Carrey and Steve Shadyacs relationship. Trailers (unskippable, they can only be fast forward) start off the disc and include the cinematic classic "Bring It On Again." Also included is a blatant product placement for Universal's new credit card. A commercial...on a DVD....included as a special feature. This better not start a trend. (***) This is a fun little movie that won't go down in history as a classic, but you'll find it's a decent way to kill an hour and half. Jim Carrey is enjoyable here even for his non-fans and Morgan Freeman plays his big role wonderfully. The disc has some problems, but there is alot worse out there on store shelves.

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