No Reason Noah
In Bruce Almighty, the employed high concept involved a mortal man being granted the powers of God, but the film's small-thinking plot squandered its large potential. So what to do for Evan Almighty, a follow-up starring as the main character one of the very minor characters from Bruce? Give him the powers of God, too, and take another swing at the premise?
No, this time, God (Morgan Freeman) appears to command Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) to build an ark for an upcoming flood. I have no clue where anyone would come up with this idea and why they thought it would be funny, but, worse yet, it's not even utilized in a way that makes it worth the time. The motivation for this random act of God is the same as it was in Bruce -- to teach the protagonist a lesson about the value in things he takes for granted.
Beyond the dubious notion of why God would single out these schmoes for such a dramatic lesson, the concept is executed illogically completely on its own. Evan must build the ark the old-fashioned way; animals line up two by two to board the vessel; and Evan is forced to grow a long, white beard and wear an Old Testament-style robe. And in the end, after the climax, you don't know why any of that had to happen, other than it probably seemed funny at the time of writing. Unfortunately, not much of the movie is very amusing anyway, despite Carell's earnest attempt at creating comedy in a scripted vacuum.
Evan Almighty arrives as pretty much a morality tale aimed at kids, filled as it is with pratfalls, bird droppings, and trained animal tricks. It's harmless as a lesson-teaching device, but otherwise the movie has no easily discernable raison d'Ítre. (Capsule review)
(Released by Universal Pictures and rated "PG" for mild humor and some peril.)
Review also posted at www.windowtothemovies.com.