Time: 101 mins.
This is a fairly funny film that probably would have benefited greatly if it starred someone other than Jim Carrey, or, at the very least, had a director manning the helm who was actually capable of reining him in. Carrey has proven in films' like ETERNAL SUNSHINE and THE TRUMAN SHOW that he doesn't have to be out-of-control to be funny. BRUCE, whose concept of a mere mortal taking over for God is ripe with comic possibilities, could have used more cleverness and less wackiness to push it over the edge of mediocrity. Carrey is completely unchallenged by his role as Bruce Nolan, a good-natured loser desperate to move up the local news chain from field reporter to anchorman.
It seems to Bruce that no matter what he does or how often he begs for God's help his pleas go answered while his rivals find easy success. His bitterness finally causes him to challenge God to "bring it on", which God then proceeds to do mostly to teach him a lesson, but partly to merely stop his non-stop bitching. He endows Bruce with all his powers, giving Bruce the opportunity to finally enact the changes to his life he believes he deserves. Unfortunately, being God is harder than Bruce anticipated, especially when all he does is use his powers to help himself.
Now I didn't expect any deep life wisdom to come out of a Jim Carrey movie, and though the writers do tackle some interesting concepts regarding the Almighty and the troubles of the human race, most of the film is so petty and silly it negates all the good points it's trying to get across. Freeman is wonderfully intelligent and cheeky as God and gives the film the weight and class it so desperately needs. Aniston also shines as Bruce's beleaguered girlfriend who forces him to take a hard look at what he really wants out of his life when she leaves him due to his utter self-absorption.
When he's not acting like a total loony, their chemistry is actually quite sweet and tangible. Aniston doesn't have much to do except be the foil for his antics, yet she makes Grace someone you believe Bruce would sacrifice his life to be with, which inevitably gives this film the bit of heart it needs to truly work. All in all, BRUCE is a film that will make you laugh and occasionally make you think, but leaves you with less of a positive, life-affirming outlook than you might expect given the topic and the talent involved.