Bruce Almighty is a 2003 American fantasy comedy film directed by Tom Shadyac, written by Steve Koren, Mark O’Keefe and Steve Oedekerk and stars Jim Carrey as Bruce Nolan, a down-on-his-luck TV reporter who complains to God (Morgan Freeman) that he is not doing his job correctly, and is offered the chance to try being God himself for one week. This is Shadyac and Carrey’s third collaboration, having previously worked together on Ace Ventura: Pet Detective in 1994 and Liar Liar in 1997. When released in American theaters in May 2003, it took the #1 spot at the box office, grossing $85.89 million—higher than the release of Pearl Harbor, making it the second-highest-rated Memorial Day weekend opening of any film in motion picture history (until the release of X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006). The movie surprised media analysts when it beat The Matrix Reloaded after its first week of release. By the time it left theaters in December 2003, it took in a United States domestic total of over $242 million and $484 million worldwide.
Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a television field reporter for Eyewitness News at WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York, but desires to be the news anchorman. He is in a healthy relationship with his girlfriend Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston), but also has a mild crush on his co-worker, Susan Ortega (Catherine Bell), who barely seems to notice him. Bruce however continues to suffer unfortunate events and it reaches his breaking point when he is passed over for promotion by his rival, Evan Baxter (Steve Carell), who then steals dialogue from Bruce’s segment in accepting the promotion on-air. Bruce becomes furious and aggressively and profanely criticizes the station during his first live report, leading to his dismissal from the station. Following a series of other misfortunes, Bruce complains that God (Morgan Freeman) is “the one that should be fired.” Bruce later receives a message on his pager, directing him to an empty warehouse where he meets God, who offers to give Bruce His powers to prove that He is doing the job correctly. God tells Bruce that there are rules to the job he must follow, albeit only two: firstly, Bruce cannot tell anyone else that he has God’s powers; and secondly, Bruce cannot use the powers to alter or interfere with free will. Bruce ignores God and is initially jubilant with the powers, using them for personal gain, such as training his dog to use the toilet, chasing away thugs by spewing out a swarm of hornets, and sexually impressing Grace. Bruce also finds ways of using the powers to cause miraculous events to occur at otherwise mundane events that he covers, such as discovering Jimmy Hoffa’s body or causing a meteor to harmlessly land near a cook-off, earning him his job back. Bruce then uses his powers to cause Evan to make a fool out of himself on-air, causing Evan to be fired in favor of Bruce as the new anchor. After taking Grace to a fancy dinner and telling her he made anchor (angering her, as she thought he was going to propose), Bruce begins to hear voices in his head. He re-encounters God, who confronts Bruce on using his powers for personal gain and not helping people. He also explains that the voices are prayers to God that Bruce must deal with. Bruce creates a computerized email-like system to receive the prayers and respond, but finds that the influx is far too great for him to handle — even though God had stated that Bruce is only receiving prayers from the Buffalo area — and sets the program to automatically answer Yes to every prayer. Bruce attends a party celebrating his promotion. When Grace arrives, she finds Bruce being seduced and kissed by Susan and storms out. Bruce follows Grace, but she is heartbroken and will not listen to him. He tries to use his powers to convince Grace to stay but cannot influence her free will. As Bruce looks around, he realizes that the city has fallen into chaos due to his actions. Bruce returns to God, who explains that despite how chaotic things seem, there is always a way to make things right, and that Bruce must figure out a way to solve it himself. Bruce then begins to solve his problems in life practically, such as helping a man whose car broke down across the street, training his dog normally and allowing Evan to have his job back. Bruce returns to his computer system and goes about answering prayers as best he can. As he reads through them, he finds a prayer from Grace, wishing for Bruce’s success and well-being. As he reads it, another prayer from Grace arrives, this one wishing not to be in love with Bruce anymore. Bruce is stunned and walks alone on a highway, asking God to take back His powers and letting his fate be in His hands. Bruce is suddenly struck by a truck and regains consciousness in a white void. God appears and asks Bruce what he really wants; Bruce admits that he only wants to make sure Grace finds a man that would make her happy.
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