Idol Chatter

Evan_Noah_idol.jpg“Evan Almighty” is good, clean family fun. And I know this because the 4-to-7 year olds sitting around me kept up a giddy, running commentary about everything on screen: “Look Mommy, sheep!” “Look Mommy, his beard won’t stop growing,” they’d say, squealing with glee. “Look Mommy, the lamas spit!” Funny! Yeah.
Do you get the picture? Because this movie is not quite what I expected. After seeing Steve Carell in “Anchorman,” “The 40 Year-Old Virgin,” and of course, his two-minute cameo appearance in “Bruce Almighty,” where Carell steals the show as Evan and proves that he has the physical comedy chops the likes of Jim Carrey, I would pretty much pay to watch this man just make faces on the screen.
At least, I thought I would. Until I saw “Evan Almighty” that is.

The basics (if you didn’t know already): A personified He-God (played by Morgan Freeman)–because we all know that God always has to be a man in film with only a precious few exceptions–asks Evan (Carell) to build an ark, yes like Noah. This occurs after Evan has scored a congressional seat in Washington, D.C. and moved his entire family–his wife (nicely played by Lauren Graham of “Gilmore Girls”) and three boys, just like Noah’s family–to a McMansion in the suburbs.
On his first big day of work, his alarm clock starts going off at 6:14 instead of 7 a.m. This confuses Evan. Then it happens again. And again. Evan begins seeing 6:14 everywhere–his license plates, his office phone extension. In a eureka moment he finally grabs a Bible and looks up Genesis 6:14 which says: “Make thee an ark of gopher wood; with rooms shalt thou make the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.” He resists God. Then his beard and hair won’t stop growing. Animals in twos begin following him everywhere. Endless amounts of wood and tools arrive. He starts “dressing like Noah.”
And hilarity ensues. If you are five, which don’t get me wrong, is fine. Kids movies are great, and it’s important that there are movies made for children. But I went expecting a comedy that adults could appreciate. (And I am one of those adults who watches “Monsters Inc.” on a regular basis–so I can definitely get behind a kid’s picture if it’s clever enough to make adults laugh too). I expected serious, belly-aching laughter–and didn’t get it.
Instead, I was bored. I wanted it to end as soon as possible. Perhaps the funniest moment of the whole movie for me was when the “Mommy” behind me–in answer to her daugher’s question, “What’s Genesis?”–explained that it had to do with Jesus. I’m glad this particular movie-goer was so religiously literate so as to teach her children the finer points of this Old Testament story.
But it is a decent movie. Just don’t go expecting the really funny Steve Carell you know and love. Then you’ll end up disappointed just like me.

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