Evan Almighty, a dull and uninspired sequel to Bruce Almighty, stars Steve Carrell as a former TV anchorman and newly elected junior congressman who believes heís cracking up after experiencing visions of God instructing him to build an ark in advance of a massive flood.
Ignoring Godís (Morgan Freeman) instructions for weeks on end, Evan (Carell) begins receiving unwanted packages, tools and bundles of wood meant for use in building an ark. Meanwhile, heís offered an opportunity to cosponsor a new bill drafted by powerful senior congressman Chuck Long (John Goodman). Evan isnít sure he wants to accept Longís invitation because the amount of reading it requires would take time away from his children and wife Joan (Lauren Graham). He agrees to support Long only after an aide tells him his endorsement of the right bill could lead to the oval office.
Back at home, Evanís General Electric alarm clock keeps waking him up at each morning, despite being set for much later. He also encounters the letters GEN and the number 614 everywhere he turns. When Evan sees a sign with Genesis 6:14 flashing on his TV screen one evening, he opens a Bible and discovers that the verse relates to the story of Noah and the Ark.
For no apparent reason, animals flock to Evan in pairs and follow him to work, refusing to leave his office. Evan suddenly takes on Noahís mannerisms, characteristics and scraggly appearance. Despite constantly grooming himself, he always reverts back to looking like the biblical character. Evanís aides attempt to keep Long away from Evan while he tries to rid himself of the animals and start to resemble his old self again. However, this is increasingly difficult because Evan hasnít signed Longís bill yet, and itís scheduled to be introduced at a hearing he must attend in 24 hours. Long attempts to have Evan permanently removed from congress after he shows up at the hearing looking like Noah and claiming God demanded him to build an ark in advance of a flood on the afternoon of September 22nd. All this garners unwanted media attention as Evan races to build the ark.
Director Tom Shadyac loses control of the picture from the get-go. He canít seem to reel in Carrell and put a stop to the actorís constant overacting, which results in an extremely irritating performance. And Graham, whoís miscast here, lacks chemistry with Carrell. Goodman, however, puts in a strong supporting turn as Long.
Steve Oedekerkís screenplay (adapted from ďPassion of the Ark,Ē a screenplay by Bobby Florsheim and Josh Stolberg) was shelved for two years after Jim Carrey and Jennifer Aniston wisely decided against reprising their original roles from Bruce Almighty. Oedekerk's story seems thin, boring and predictable to me.
The true star of the picture is the impressive ark. Using pictures from various childrenís books and based on measurements from the Bible, it took set designers over a year to design. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie fails to match the arkís high quality.
(Released by Universal Pictures and rated "PG" for mild humor and some peril.)