Not Two Good

19 Jun

It’s the most expensive comedy ever made, but Evan Almighty is certainly not the most hilarious one. Steve Carrell stars as Evan Baxter, last seen as a befuddled news anchor in Buffalo, N.Y. In the time between Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty, Evan’s gone and grown a spine, gotten married, and had two kids. And now he’s won a seat in Congress, so he packs up the family and moves to the D.C. suburbs, where he’s a pawn in a hungry Congressman’s bad-for-the-environment plan and a delinquent dad. Enter God (Morgan Freeman, still the best possible casting for the role), who tells Evan to build an ark because there’s going to be a flood. He even gives him tools and wood, courtesy of 1-800-GO-4-WOOD. Soon, pairs of animals appear and Evan finds shaving is futile. Yadda yadda yadda. Evan is a total high-concept comedy, and appropriately, there are plenty of sight gags about animals helping to build the ark, about Evan’s basic Biblical wardrobe, and generally anything sight-gag-able. And some of it is goofy and silly, in a good way. It’s pretty funny watching the ark sail down the Mall in Washington, D.C., for example. And some of the movie is expectedly cute. But to its credit, there’s not a groan or a cringe to be had. Carrell and the cast try their hardest to wring some kind of quality from the material, and they don’t embarrass themselves. And just in case, there’s also Jonah Hill (from Knocked Up), who provides some laughs, and Wanda Sykes, who is always there with an easy one-liner. But if you want real Noah’s Ark–related humor, you’re better off listening to Bill Cosby’s classic skit. Evan Almighty is no miracle, but it’s hardly the disaster it could have been. It’s going to play really well on cable. So I’m giving Evan Almighty a B–.

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