Bruce Almighty

  • Review Date: November 23, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Happily deranged comedy has typical Carrey humor.
  • Review Date: November 23, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

Age(i)

2
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5
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7
8
9
10
11
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14
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Bruce learns to not blame fate or God for everything that goes wrong with his life and his career, and that his actions, no matter how well-intended, have consequences. The positive messages are undermined by a turnaround that doesn't feel entirely sincere.

Positive role models

Bruce begins the movie as a jealous, spiteful, petty person, who, when he receives great powers, uses them to humiliate his rival and peek up women's skirts. Ultimately, he learns to accept his current position in life, and grows to find contentment by making the best of his situation.

Violence

A character gets beat up by thugs after trying to defend a homeless man. A character is hit by a semi-truck. While not paying attention while driving, a character drives into a streetlight and wrecks his car.

Sex

With supernatural powers, a man raises a woman's dress on the street, exposing her panties. During foreplay, this same man uses these powers to work up his girlfriend into a highly aroused state. Later, he points at his girlfriend's breasts and says that they've gotten bigger. References to breasts being "perky," jokes about Playboy and Penthouse Forum magazine.

Language

Frequent profanity: "f--kers," "s--t," "ass," "hell." A character uses the middle finger gesture.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink wine at dinner, but do not act intoxicated.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Bruce Almighty is a 2003 Jim Carrey movie concerned with fate, prayer, and spirituality. In spite of these loftier themes, it's still a Jim Carrey comedy, with hammy physical humor, profanity, and sexual humor and content. For example, given God-like power, Carrey's Bruce immediately uses the power to make a woman's dress rise up on the street, then has a monkey come out of the rear end of one of the thugs who had previously beaten him up. A recurring joke in the movie concerns Bruce's dog and his inability to be properly house-trained; as "God," Bruce has his dog use the toilet. All in all, Carrey's humor is a bizarre, incongruous pairing with deeper themes of spirituality.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Jim Carrey is Bruce Nolan, a TV news reporter who wants to do serious stories and thinks he should be the anchor. When he loses that job to a rival (Steve Carell), Bruce furiously explodes on the air and is fired. He thinks that life is very unfair, so he complains to God. God (Morgan Freeman) challenges Bruce to try out His powers, as long as he doesn't tell anyone or interfere with free will. Bruce spends the first week using the powers for cheap thrills (i.e. he parts the red soup instead of the Red Sea and makes the cars blocking him in a traffic jam move out of the way) and petty payback. But then Bruce has to realize that power and responsibility go together and that he can't be happy until he understands that other people's happiness has to come first.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Who wouldn't like to be able to do anything without any guilt or accountability? That part of BRUCE ALMIGHTY is fun and very funny, especially when Bruce makes his rival mess up on camera. But the part about Bruce's redemption is not successful, because viewers are never really persuaded that Bruce cares about anyone but himself. There is a hollow and even faintly creepy sense that the people behind the movie don't really believe the message themselves.

Bruce's carelessness in lassooing the moon (a reference to It's a Wonderful Life that is underscored later on when we get a glimpse of that scene on television), unleashing an asteroid, and making hundreds of lottery winners, is portrayed as humorous. Even though we get glimpses of the disasters he causes, Bruce never has to clean up the mess. And when Bruce tells God that he wants to solve the problems of world hunger and peace, God tells him that is a "Miss America answer" and His goal seems to be to get Bruce to think about what would make him happy with no regard for anyone but himself and the woman he loves. The result is a movie that, despite some very funny moments, makes the same mistake as its main character without learning any lessons about maturity or responsibility. It teeters between happily deranged comedy and sentimental fable, but is unsatisfying in both categories.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what they would do if they had God's powers. How would you decide the best way to respond to prayers? Most of the prayers in this movie are "petitionary," meaning that they are asking for something, usually love, money, or status-related. What other kinds of prayers are there?

  • Is it OK to laugh about God, prayer, and spirituality? Is anything off limits when it comes to comedy?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 23, 2003
DVD release date:November 25, 2003
Cast:Jennifer Aniston, Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman
Director:Tom Shadyac
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:language, sexual content and some crude humor

This review of Bruce Almighty was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous February 28, 2014
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Funny, Thought-Provoking

Typical self-love and be kind to others messages, yet funny moments and great cast.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byForknose April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

A great movie.

Imagine being God.... That's the point of the movie. Nothing really made me think this movie was inappropriate, except Jim Carrey used the finger twice (that's all). It is a harsh thing to think you have to be 14 to see the movie (I am older, but still). I would say ages 7+ would like it (if your kids would get the movie, that is).
Parent Written bybolandparke April 9, 2008
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
Needless offensive language and flippant sexual context makes this a not-bvery-funny film for parents with children. The use of the F-word is entirely unnecessary. The pictures of the dog urinating is hardly humorous, and the repetitive self-centeredness of Carrey's character is barely redeemed in a toss-off final scene in which God, swell fellow that he is, makes it right just in time for a simplistic ending. This is hardly a film from which children will learn anything about God's interventions in human affairs. It is a waste of time for parents and kids.
Adult Written byjigould April 9, 2008
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

There is a great message in this movie.

The two main characters used the Lord's name in vain several times. Jim Carrey's character was very disrespectful to God. And, Jim Carrey and Jennifer Aniiston lived together without being married. That is what is going on all over the world by unsaved, as well as saved, people. So why do I say this movie has a great message? Because what we don't often see in movies are characters who are so blatanly anti-God turning to God by the end of the show. Jim Carrey did an excellent job playing a man who was angry with God for how his life is going. Jennifer Aniston did a spectacular job of not preaching at her boyfriend as he fell into an abyss of his own making, and she maintained her sense of peace and good boundaries as he was doing so. I believe the message that came through loud and clear is that God is real, we should pray for His will, and that He answers those prayers. There were some moments of obvious Jim Carrey humor, such as a monkey coming from someone's rear end and a breast scene (clothed), but all in all, I believe older kids and adults should be able to watch this and take away a message of what a relationship with God entails and the peace that comes with such a relationship.

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