Why can't movies with a religious theme be legitimately funny without feeling like their pandering to a predetermined audience?
I saw "Evan Almighty" yesterday, hoping the critics would be wrong. I mean, Steve Carell is a funny guy. And yes, God and the Bible can be funny too. But a lot of it was just flat. Carell gets hit in the crotch multiple times (almost never funny). And the long hair and robes gag is overdone and unnecessary. The movie had its subtle, funny moments playing off of religious aphorisms - in one scene Carell says something to God about having plans and God (Morgan Freeman) starts laughing.
The religious parts of it just seem forced. A conversation about prayer seemed awkward, as if the writer felt it had to be there for some sort of Christian credibility. And as our resident movie expert Alexandyr Kent noted, no one seems to die, despite the massive flood that sweeps through the Washington DC suburbs. That seems a little optimistic even for God.
It does have one rather insightful moment. Carell's wife, Joan (as in, of Arc) has taken the three kids and left Carell to his ark building. While in a diner, God appears to her as a waiter and says maybe God doesn't answer prayer as much as give opportunity. For instance, when you pray for patience, God gives the opportunity to be patient. Or if you pray for courage maybe he gives you the opportunity to be courageous.
At least there was something to think about in an otherwise disappointing film.