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.
Grace: I've got a very rare blood type. I'm AB positive.
Bruce: Well I'm IB positive. I be positive they ain't touching me with no needle.
This turns out to be a Chekhov's Gun when Bruce is nearly killed by a truck near the end of the film and ends up having gotten a blood transfusion while he was out. Guess what his blood type is?
Actor Allusion: Bruce turns into Clint Eastwoodat one point. Although prosthetics were used in this instance, "Clint Eastwood" was a part of Carrey's facial impersonations routine in his stand-up days.
After Bruce and God finish cleaning the floor together in the warehouse, God says "All-lll-righty then" - a little subdued, but a definite reference to Ace Ventura.
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.
Bruce himself is one before he is endowed with God's powers.
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.
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, with Evan receiving the worst of it.
It's also what Bruce feels like before meeting God.
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.
Bruce:[laughs] What a coincidence! Because that's today! [On cue, a monkey emerges from his butt]
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.
Everything but the Girl: Bruce is given the powers of God himself, and he still can't use them to get the girl. Worse, he already has the girl but his powers are no help in keeping her. In part the problem is his powers can't affect free will.
Forceful Kiss: How Susan reveals to Bruce that she has feelings for him. Unfortunately, Grace was watching.
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".
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!
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.
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 Negro: Morgan Freeman is often cast in this role, but only in this movie and its sequel is it also taken literally.
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.)
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.
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!").
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.
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".
What Could Have Been: The original draft of the script had Bruce "pleasuring" Susan Ortega too (though to a much lesser extent as they were in a crowded news room) just before they went on the air.
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 good..."
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.
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 who's prayer's 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.
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.
Well, sort of necessary in order to create any sort of feasible story in which a person is endowed with God's powers. If he wasn't, he'd literally become God and eradicate his own character. After all, they didn't even touch on omniscience, time alteration, clairsentience, spatial warping, multiple consciousnesses, etc. In fact, all he'd really have to do with that kind of power is ask questions and unless God stripped him of his memory, he'd pretty much approach equal footing (assuming it is a Christian variant of the deity, God doesn't hold "power" but "authority" (and yes, there is a significant difference) so knowing something so thoroughly would effectively grant authority over it (of course, this would probably eradicate his discernable personality too, since the perfection would yield a strictly eternal perspective, which would cause him . . . issues interacting in the temporal world)).
Bruce's Parting of the Red Soup. Also includes (localised) 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.
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.