Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Evan Almighty

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
7 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: PG

Starring:
Steve Carell as Evan Baxter
Morgan Freeman as God
Lauren Graham as Joan Baxter
Johnny Simmons as Dylan Baxter
Graham Phillips as Jordan Baxter
Jimmy Bennett as Ryan Baxter
John Goodman as Congressman Long
Wanda Sykes as Rita
John Michael Higgins as Marty
Jonah Hill as Eugene
Molly Shannon as Eve Adams
Ed Helms as Ed Carson

Special Features:
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes
Animals On Set Two By Two
Animal Roundup Game
Steve Carell Unscripted
The Ark-itects Of Noah's Ark
Becoming Noah
Steve Carell Unscripted
The Almighty Green Set
It's Easy Being Green
Acts of Random Kindness
A Flood of Visual Effects
Casting Call: Serengetti
The Almighty Forest

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

Synopsis:
"Evan Almighty" is the sequel to the 2003 film "Bruce Almighty."

Evan Baxter has made the leap from news broadcaster to Congressman in the years since the first film. Transplanting his family to Washington D.C., they move into a new home in a new suburban neighborhood. Everything seems right in Evan's world until God shows up.

God asks Evan to build an ark because a flood is coming. Evan is understandably skeptical, but he soon realizes it's really God when animals start following him two by two. He has no choice but to comply with God's wishes.

Evan recruits his three sons to build the ark. But what will happen to his job, his reputation, and his family as he undertakes the seemingly insane scheme?"

"Evan Almighty" is rated PG for mild rude humor and some peril.

The Movie:
While "Evan Almighty" is by no means a perfect film, I was probably a lot more receptive and forgiving towards it for a number of reasons.

First of all, the movie is family friendly. I took my 5-year-old son to it and he was absolutely mesmerized. He loved seeing the animals, Steve Carell's antics, and Morgan Freeman as God. (He actually asked if Morgan Freeman really was God at one point.) "Evan Almighty" has plenty of jokes for adults and plenty of jokes for kids, so it's a great film that the whole family can enjoy. They really made the right call by making this movie PG.

Second, as a Christian, it's a fun concept for me to see played out on the screen. To take a Bible story that everyone knows and loves and transplant it into a modern setting is an entertaining twist. Seeing animals gather around Evan, his neighbors mocking him, etc etc etc gives a different insight on the classic story. Some of Morgan Freeman's lines about prayer, love, family, and responsibility will also impact Christian audiences, yet it's not so heavy handed as to put off non-Christian audiences. The creators found the right balance.

Third, I'm a big fan of Steve Carell. This is not really his best big screen performance, but he does bring a lot of energy and improvisation to the story to liven things up. He's in best form when he's freaking out, and he does this a lot. From God stalking him to birds roosting on him, Carrell has lots of opportunities to spaz out. But Carell keeps a major part of what made his other films big successes - a strong supporting cast. Most notable is Wanda Sykes as Rita. I've never been a big fan of Sykes, but she steals every single scene she's in. Some of the best lines from the film come from her. Also noteworthy is Jonah Hill as Eugene. Eugene is a kiss-up of biblical proportions and he, too, steals a number of scenes. "The Office" fans will also be pleased to see Ed Helms as news reporter Ed Carson. He, too, has notable freak-outs. If I had to guess who might have a third "Almighty" movie based on them, it would be Helms.

I already mentioned that Steve Carell had some weak moments of the film. Unfortunately, when Carell is not funny, the movie falls utterly flat. For example, Evan becomes more and more serious as the movie progresses. By the end of the movie, the baboons are upstaging Evan. Evan also does a weird dance here and there throughout the film. It was pretty cheesy and not really funny. Unfortunately, it's repeated over and over.

The Extras:
You'll find an unusually large number of bonus features on this DVD. All of them are introduced by Steve Carell himself. Here's the rundown:

Deleted Scenes - Most of these deleted scenes are pretty minor. There are a couple with Wanda Sykes and Ed Helms, but otherwise there's nothing noteworthy here.

Outtakes - This is your standard offering of flubs and jokes on the set. I have a feeling they had to cut a lot of them for this family friendly DVD.

Animals On Set Two By Two - This title is pretty self explanatory. They talk about the animals used in the film, the special effects, and other such stuff.

Animal Roundup Game - This is a matching game for kids where they must find a second animal to lead into the ark.

Steve Carell Unscripted - This is some raw footage of Carell ad-libbing. You see alternate versions of a lot of scenes.

The Ark-itects Of Noah's Ark - The construction of the ark set is shown here in detail.

Becoming Noah - Carell's transformation into Noah is discussed here. They talk about his clothes, hair, etc.

The Almighty Green Set - The creators were determined to be environmentally friendly with their production, so they rode bikes to the set, recycled the ark wood, and planted trees to offset their 'carbon footprint'. Al Gore would be proud.

It's Easy Being Green - In one of the most preachy bonus features I've ever seen, the cast of Evan Almighty tell you ways to save electricity, reduce energy consumption, etc. Sorry, Steve, but I'm not cutting my shower time in half.

Acts of Random Kindness - The cast and crew talk about random acts of kindness they or someone else did on the set while shooting.

A Flood of Visual Effects - Again, this title is self explanatory. The ark effects at the end are explained.

Casting Call: Serengetti - This was the best bonus feature for me. In it, they do a mock casting of animals for the film. It was pretty funny.

The Almighty Forest - The crew discuss how they planted 2,000 trees to offset their 'carbon footprint' while filming this movie.

The Bottom Line:
If you're a fan of Steve Carell or if you want kids to see this movie, you'll probably enjoy "Evan Almighty" more than a lot of audiences. Don't go in expecting a mature comedy like the first "Bruce Almighty."

Order this DVD @ Amazon

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