Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
A 2003 comedy film starring Jim Carrey as a down-on-his-luck reporter named Bruce Nolan. After being turned down for a job as an anchorman, he complains to God that He isn't doing His job the right way... so God gives Bruce His powers to see what he can do with them.Though the film received mixed reviews, it is currently Carrey's highest-grossing film, picking up almost half a billion dollars worldwide. It received a sequel, Evan Almighty, starring Steve Carell as Evan Baxter, a supporting character from this film.
By sheer coincidence, the original phone number in the movie release was also the number to two different churches on opposite sides of the United States. (And the pastor at one of those churches was actually named Bruce.)
Weirdly, it's not a valid phone number in area code 716, where the film takes place.
In the home release, the pager says 555-0123, but Bruce still says the original number when reading the pager.
God: [quoting Bruce] "The gloves are off, God!" "God has taken my bird and my bush!" "God is a mean kid with a magnifying glass!" "Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!" Now, I'm not much for blaspheming, but that last one made me laugh.
Alpha Bitch: Susan Ortega. Albeit a subtler-than-average example.
Ambulance Chaser: One deleted scene shows Bruce answering some peoples' prayers when he first logs on to Yahweh!. One of them is a woman slipping in a puddle of spilt milk. Before she can get up, an injury lawyer (a Stanley Kamel cameo) is on the scene.
Aroused by Their Voice: When Bruce comes home after getting the powers, he makes his voice much more...pleasurable.
Asshole Victim: The thugs that beat up Bruce and key-scratch his car later get theirs in the movie after Bruce uses his new powers to make his life better.
Ass Shove: What Bruce uses to get revenge on a street thug who beat him up earlier.
Bruce: Hey there, little anal-dwelling Butt Monkey. Time for you to go home little buddy!
Be Careful What You Wish For: The main lesson Bruce is set to learn. He also learns he can't give everyone what they wish for when he starts answering prayers with a unilateral "yes."
Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: In a deleted scene, Bruce goes skydiving, and wills his parachute to fail. He saves himself by landing on Bigfoot!
Body Horror: Played for Laughs twice. First, during the How Many Fingers? scene, Bruce tries to trick God by continuously changing the number of fingers. God eventually says "seven", and when Bruce holds up one hand in triumph....God is right, to his horror. Second, the literal Butt Monkey scene.
Brick Joke: Using his powers, Bruce is able to instantly train his dog to use a human toilet, which stops him urinating behind the sofa. Later in the film, Grace walks into the toilet to find the dog sitting on it, reading a newspaper.
Captain Obvious: "It's a funny thing about pleasure, it can be quite pleasurable!"
Partially justified, as he was trying to work the word "pleasure" in as much as possible. See "Sex God" below.
Clapper Gag: God uses his powers to this effect to show off to Bruce. Bruce later uses his own powers to turn the lights off in his apartment before sex.
Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: Played with. After Grace leaves Bruce, she sees signs everywhere reminding her of how much Bruce loved her. However, with Bruce being God, the signs were created by him as a means of trying to win her back.
Cool Loser: Bruce. He works as a TV reporter and his girlfriend is played by Jennifer Aniston. However, this was intentional, since a key theme of the film is that Bruce doesn't know how good he has it.
Comes Great Responsibility: A big part of the film is Bruce learning not to use his new powers to be a selfish dick and to help people instead (and then learning to use his powers to help people more responsibly.)
Cosmic Plaything: How Bruce treats just about everyone around him once he's endowed with God-like powers, though whether this results in them benefiting[note]Such as in Grace having powerful, spontaneous orgasms whenever Bruce wants her to.[/note] or suffering[note]Having a monkey force its way in and out of a thug, being humiliated on national TV, or being set on FIRE.[/note] depends entirely on how much he likes them.
Cue the Flying Pigs: The scene where Bruce, newly endowed with God's powers, confronts the thugs who'd beaten him up earlier, demanding an apology.
Disproportionate Retribution: Due to nobody winning the lottery jackpot (everybody that entered only won seventeen bucks) they start a riot.
Well, it's sort of a three-way riot between the lottery, the supposed end of the world and the Buffalo Sabres winning the Stanley Cup.
The news crew that laugh at Bruce just before his return to glory end up busted with a comical amount of illegal drugs in their van. What must have been a serious set of sentences for all of them, just for laughing at a disgraced reporter.
Of course, considering Bruce was omnipotent and could literally do ANYTHING to them, you could say that they got off lightly. A minute or two of unbearable pain from having a monkey force itself in and out of your ass, or a life sentence for drugs possession, is a lot better than the eternity of hell that Bruce could have given them.
Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Admit it. Rather than take on the movie's message of "Be the miracle", you instead left the cinema wishing that God would give you his powers, so that you too could cause spontaneous orgasms, part your soup, and walk on water.
Drama-Preserving Handicap: Most of the difficulties that Bruce encounters could have been solved had he not had to obey the two rules, as evidenced by his attempts to make Grace love him. Hell, even without willing her to love him, telling her about his powers probably would have helped her to understand why Bruce was doing some of the things he did, and maybe help her to forgive him. It's like God wanted Bruce to struggle.
Of course, the biggest handicap is Bruce's own stupidity, since even with the rules, some things could have been avoided. After Grace caught him kissing Susan, did it never cross his mind to simply erase her memory of it? Or better still, re-wind time to stop it happening in the first place.
Everything but the Girl: Bruce actually already has the girl, but his arrogant behaviour while he has his powers causes Grace to leave him. He then discovers that pretty much the only thing his near-omnipotence can't do is get her back, since he can't mess with free will, so no forcing her to love him, and all the other stuff he does just freaks her out.
First World Problems: Bruce's complaints against God (his "mediocre life") seem pretty weak compared to people in Third World Countries who might actually have something to complain about.
Fist Pump: Bruce ends his disastrous Maid of the Mist report by pumping his fist and saying, "Back to you, fuckers!" In a cable TV edit only, because on VHS and DVD, Bruce gives us the finger.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you watch the screen frame-by-frame when Bruce is downloading the prayers, you will notice that the list repeats itself periodically. You'll also find a very weird one... "RE: Bra For My Sports Car"... and one that is not so funny... "RE: Mommy And Daddy Not Fight".
Freudian Slip: Bruce, after Grace has made him breakfast, and says that her breasts have gotten bigger.
Bruce: Listen, I uh, have to go. But this has been the breast bek... breast... thank you.
Funny Spoon: "Excuse me, I need a spooo-ulgh!" [a spoon comes out of his mouth]
God's Hands Are Tied: God lets Bruce do anything except interfere with free will, and tell people he has God's powers. It's likely God Himself can interfere with free will, but he doesn't because that would negate the purpose of free will in the first place.
God: You can't mess with free will. Bruce: Can I ask why? God: Yes you can! That's the beauty of it!
God Is Good: How God is conceptualized; Bruce thinks he can do a better job running the world than God, and he's wrong.
Grand Romantic Gesture: Bruce literally re-arranges the night sky to seduce his girlfriend. Later, when she leaves him, Bruce creates many signs of his love.
Grandpa God: This trope seems to have somewhat inspired the portrayal of God in the film, although it's maybe a little more friendly.
Greasy Spoon: The place where Bruce realizes God really did make him almighty.
Heroic BSOD: Bruce experiences one of these during a live report after finding out that Evan beat him to the anchorman's job, soon resulting in Bruce losing his own job.
Bruce gets another one towards the end when he hears Grace's prayers. That she wants to forget about Bruce and move on.
Home Porn Movie: The unseen photo from Bruce and Grace's weekend at the lake, where she's said to be "perky".
Hydrant Geyser: As Bruce walks gleefully through Buffalo, testing out his powers, he points a finger at a fire hydrant, causing this.
Immodest Orgasm: One of Bruce's first divine acts entails, ah, satisfying his girlfriend Grace.
Invocation: Being near-omnipotent, Bruce only says "magic words" when using his powers for fun, or from the sheer manly thrill that comes from, say, making your girlfriend orgasm when you say a certain word.
Ironic Echo: "I hear they stockpile that stuff in a warehouse somewhere."
Grace. She stuck by Bruce even though he doesn't seem to appreciate his life and always wants more. She prays every night to help Bruce. In the end, Bruce broke her heart for the last time, but she still loves him and prays to God to remove those feelings.
Jerkass: Initially played straight with Bruce, and eventually subverted. At first, he uses and abuses his power for personal gain (and for his own amusement), before his Character Development kicks in.
Jizzed in My Pants: Bruce uses his powers to make his voice have this effect on Grace. She's not complaining.
Literal Genie: How Bruce apparently answers all prayers that float his way, or at least gives little heed to unforeseen consequences. He doesn't do this intentionally... he just answers "YES" to all prayers en masse because its easier than considering each one.
Magical Gesture: Bruce is rather fond of these, often pointing at or raising his hands towards the thing/person he's using his powers on.
Magical Negro: Morgan Freeman is often cast in this role, but only in this movie and its sequel is it also taken literally.
Marilyn Maneuver: Soon after getting his powers, Bruce did this on a random woman in the street, and he saw that it was good.
Mathematician's Answer: Subverted, when God lays down the rule that he can't mess with free will, Bruce counters with "May I ask why?" God's answer "Yes! You can!" is immediately clarified with "That's the beauty of it!"
Meaningful Name: Grace, Bruce's long-suffering girlfriend. (In Christian theology: Grace- a. the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. b. the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.)
Misapplied Phlebotinum: Bruce's first act as God is to... part his tomato soup. All the next uses he finds for his divine powers are consistently petty, selfish and/or moronic.
The creators sure must have been enjoying themselves in the Parting of the Red Soup.
Bruce pouring milk, to the theme tune of "Chariots of Fire". In slo mo. Into the glasses of hungry people waiting to eat the world's largest cookie. It also helps to show that despite his dissatisfaction with his local-interest news job, he's really good at it.
The Omnipotent: God seems to be this. He then makes Bruce omnipotent too, aside from not being able to affect free will. There doesn't seem to be anything he can't do. God left out giving Bruce omniscience in the package however, so he's still limited by his human mind and eventually humbled by how he failed to do a better job carrying out God's responsibilities.
Paste Eater: One of Grace's students is constantly eating arts and crafts supplies. She comments that she expects him to poop an ornament any time now.
Pen Pushing God: When Bruce receives his powers, he is suddenly confronted with the prayers of millions of people—which are presented in one scene as a massive layer of "Post-It" notes covering every wall and surface in his home. He then clears the clutter by instantly converting them to an e-mail format on his computer ("You've got prayers!").
Perspective Magic: Bruce adds new stars to the sky just by pointing, and erases them like they're on a blackboard.
Power Incontinence: Bruce had this at first, mainly due to denying he actually had powers, probably meaning that God was just doing it to convince him. Once he'd accepted that he actually had powers, he had no trouble at all in controlling them.
The script however had a few more scenes of the powers apparently acting on their own. One scene would have had Bruce shouting "Damn You!" at an annoying guy at work, causing him to become possessed by a demon, while another scene had him unable to get in the bath, due to involuntarily walking on the water, having to concentrate in order to sink in.
Product Placement: When Bruce is first talking to God in room 7, God claps his hands and the light turns off. Then sings the little "clap on, clap off, the clapper..." jingle after it is mentioned by Bruce. Also Juan Valdez coffee.
Reality Ensues: Many of the things Bruce does for his immediate gratification have lasting and sometimes disastrous consequences. Pulling the moon closer to Earth causes flooding and a meteor impact screws up power grids.
Selfless Wish: At the end of the movie, after having been hit by a truck and apparently going to die, Bruce meets God one more time. God asks Bruce if he wants Grace back, but Bruce admits that he wants Grace to be happy, and that even if it's not with him, she deserves someone who will see her the way Bruce sees her. God is impressed, saying "now that's a prayer," and revives Bruce via some EMTs with a Magical Defibrillator.
Sex God: In a rather literal example, one of the first things that Bruce does with his powers is to have hot sex with his girlfriend. And what does this involve? Making her have the most intense orgasms of her (And probably everyone else's) life, simply by saying the words "pleasure" and "pleasurable" to her, followed by some off screen screams of pleasure as they "get busy". If that's not an example of a sex GOD then I don't know what is. Bruce even lampshades the trope name in the morning when he describes the experience as "heavenly".
Sexy Discretion Shot: After telekinetically being given the greatest orgasm in history, Grace pounces on Bruce, and we simply see the outside of their apartment, as their bedroom light flickers with holy power, and their moans and groans of ecstasy fill the night.
Joan Osborne's song "One of Us" is referenced twice. First, Bruce sings the chorus when coming home and bringing Grace flowers. Later, as he's leaving for work, he sings an earlier part of the chorus, changing the line "Yeah, yeah, God is good..." to "Yeah, yeah, I am great..."
The scene where Bruce pulls the moon down is very similar to a scene in it's A Wonderful Life where Jimmy Stewart offers to lasso the moon to make his girl happy. Guess which old film just happens to be on the tv later on in movie.
Something Else Also Rises: Bruce suddenly spurts ketchup over his breakfast when his girlfriend asks if he thinks her boobs are bigger than they were last night.
Source Music: As he walks out onto his balcony, Bruce commands his stereo to play some romantic music.
Space Whale Aesop: One of the film's messages is that the reason God doesn't answer a lot of prayers is because no matter what you do you can't make everyone happy. The problem is that when Bruce answered "yes" to all prayers, he did make everyone happy, a lot of people were happy, the chaos of the third act was caused by him abusing his powers with things like making the moon's orbit closer to Earth and calling down a meteor impact, making people think the world was going to end. The only prayer that backfired was that so many people prayed to win the lottery they all had to split the prize and only won $17, which is still Bruce's fault for not thinking that one through fully.
A deleted scene delves into this more fully, showing specific people whose prayers Bruce answered, and then eventually showing that while he did make them happy in the short run, it ultimately wasn't what was best for them (i.e. a bullied kid suddenly becoming strong enough to fend off his bullies, only to become a bully himself, eventually becoming a pro wrestler, testing positive for steroids, and ending up managing a fast food joint, when he originally would've channeled his memories of bullying into becoming a best-selling author.)
God: If you want to paint pictures like these, you have to use some dark colors.
On Bruce's first night as God, he uses his powers to create a new breed of flowers, and to re-arrange the sky to be more romantic, before they retreat to the bedroom for some "heavenly" sex. Not a bad night in.
Later, Bruce takes Grace out for dinner, where he makes Tony Bennet perform.
The Nudifier: Bruce's new powers take on this role. In preparation for some "heavenly" lovemaking, Bruce removes his clothes (minus his underwear) with a single gesture.
Telepathic Sprinklers: Feeling depressed at a party, Bruce sets them off with his mind to get everyone out of the house.
Title Drop: "I am Bruce Almighty! My will be done!"
And also "Well hello there, Bruce Almighty."
Too Dumb to Live: Bruce almost literally. Not only does he not know how to help people, despite having the powers of God, but he also doesn't realize that he could call up Einstein (or anyone else, for that matter) for advice. The only thing stopping Bruce from simply making himself smarter or, better yet, wiser, to go with the whole God schtick is this trope.
Ungrateful Bastard: In a cosmic sense, Bruce. He works at a news studio where even if his stories are in-glamorous he gets on the air on occasion, before his breakdown his boss gave him a shot at a high-profile live story and indicated there would be more if he did well on it, and when it comes to his personal life he lives in a very nice apartment with Jennifer Aniston as his live-in girlfriend. Somehow, this is not enough for him.
Bruce's Parting of the Red Soup. Also includes (localized) wind and lightning, and the score suddenly swells to become reminiscent of The Ten Commandments for bonus points.
In the movie poster included on this page, Bruce has the world on a string.
Bruce leans on a golden calf during the party as he surveys all he's accomplished for himself, meanwhile, everything important in his life (the things he should have been worshiping instead of meaningless things) is going to hell around him.
Walk on Water: Nicely played with. At first it appears that God and Bruce are walking in a park or some such, until a sailboat glides behind them.
Also used as the first sign that Bruce actually does have the powers he was told he had, as he walks on top of a deep puddle that he had previously stepped into.
Weird Moon: Bruce moves the moon closer to the Earth using his powers, resulting in Grace's comment that's she's "never seen the moon that big".
Welcome to My World: When Bruce is in danger of losing his girlfriend, despite having been gifted with near-omnipotent powers, laments to God "How do you make someone love you without affecting free will?" and God replies, "Welcome to my world, son."
With Great Power Comes Great Perks: Bruce is certainly keen to take advantage of the perks, whether it's getting revenge, improving his career or having the greatest sex in history with his girlfriend.
Yet Another Baby Panda: In a scene that never made it past the script, Bruce makes a zoo full of pandas successfully mate, by making them insatiably horny.
Your Mime Makes It Real: Bruce mimes about throwing a lasso at the moon and then pulling it - and the moon does come closer. Justified; he's almighty.
Plenty of others too, including, but not limited to: Bruce blowing to cause a gust of wind to lift a girl's dress, mouthing gibberish to cause Evan to say it, and throwing pleasure and orgasms at Grace.