out of Five
Running time: 90
Evan Almighty is an average, mildly entertaining comedy that's ultimately redeemed by a strong supporting cast and a decent effects-based climax.
What's it all about?
In this spin-off sequel to Bruce Almighty, God (Morgan Freeman) picks Evan Baxter (Steve Carell's character from the first film) for a Biblical adventure of his own. Evan's just been elected to Congress, so he's a little disconcerted when God shows up and tells him to build an ark.
At first, Evan is understandably sceptical, but then a huge amount of wood arrives and animals start lining up outside his new house in pairs. However, God has a few more tricks up his sleeve and soon, Evan is saddled with a permanent beard and clothes that keep turning into a sack-cloth robe, neither of which goes down too well in Washington.
Carell does what he can, but the script is painfully underwritten and it completely wastes the lovely Lauren Graham as his wife, who's basically given nothing to do except react. Fortunately, the other members of the talented supporting cast fare slightly better, notably John Goodman (as a scheming Senator who embroils Evan in a landgrab scam) and Wanda Sykes, who gets the best lines as Evan's sarky assistant. In addition, the film redeems itself with an exciting, effects-based climax that just about makes up for the lack of decent jokes.
The biggest problem with the film is that the tag-line ("Evan help us") is the most amusing thing about it. Hardly any of the big set-piece jokes work - a running gag about Evan's happy dance is particularly lame, though judging by the cast and crew reactions during the end credits, you'd think it was the funniest joke in the world.
In short, Evan Almighty is saved by a strong supporting cast and a decent climax, though the rest of the film is underwritten and disappointing in places.
Evan Almighty (PG)