Evans almighty, this dismal sequel is far from God-like

Hollywood s latest attempt to do God is disappointing and proves that Jim Carrey s refusal to do any sequels was a very wise move, writes Michael Joyce

Hollywood's latest attempt to do God is disappointing and proves that Jim Carrey's refusal to do any sequels was a very wise move, writes Michael Joyce

Evan Almighty (PG.) Directed by Tom Shadyac. Starring Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman, Lauren Graham, John Goodman, Wanda Sykes. 95 mins

One star rating

It is amazing the kind of ridiculous situations Hollywood types can talk themselves into. After Jim Carrey's man-does-God comedy Bruce Almighty made around half a billion dollars worldwide it demanded a sequel. But how could they get round the fact that its star never does sequels?

The solution they came up with was to take a minor character from that film, convince themselves that after 40-Year-Old Virgin, Little Miss Sunshine and the US version of The Office Steve Carell is actually a big star, bring back Freeman as God and put them in a modern day Noah story. Then spend the best part of £200million dollars on some fairly unimpressive computer generated pairs of animals and an enormous ark.

The result is an insipid mess so desperate to be inclusive and not cause offence that it tiptoes around the issues and manages to be not funny enough, not warm enough and not spectacular enough.

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Carell is a skilled comic performer but just can't provide the kind of bombastic comic fireworks needed to fill a film of this size. He needs a credible character to play but here finds himself asked to do Charlton Heston.

Having landed themselves with the most expensive comedy in history the makers have been trying to rally the Christian audience that swarmed to see Mel's Passion behind this film.

This is fairly disingenuous as the movie is yet another spin on the defining modern Hollywood fable, the career man who learns an important lesson about spending time with his family. It's more concerned with its ecological message (it claims to have been a carbon-neutral production) than any spiritual one.

Everything that the film makers know about Christianity seems to have come from watching Cecil B. De Mille movies. The theology of the film seems faintly self-defeating.

When Evan, a US congressman, announces that God has told him to build an Ark, nobody believes him.

This despite the fact that on the floor of the House of Congress his suit is replaced by biblical robes, a long flowing beard appears on him and he is followed everywhere by two of every animal who then physically help him with the construction of his Ark.

Over the previous 10,000 years God has always denied his creation concrete proof of his existence, demanding acts of faith from his followers.

In Evan Almighty he splashes around so much incontrovertible evidence that even Richard Dawkins would be elbowing through the crowd to get a place on the big boat.