As with most anything he stars in, Steve Carell is hilarious when it comes to his new motion picture “Evan Almighty.” Though “The Office” fans will not see as much of his quirk in this film as they do on his television series, he is nonetheless, still quite funny. However, and surprisingly, it is not Carell who has the majority of punch lines in this movie but rather the comedian Wanda Sykes—nearly every time she speaks it is to say something humorous. Along with these two, “Evan Almighty” is filled up with a great cast: Morgan Freeman, John Goodman, Molly Shannon and Ed Helms (a.k.a. “Andy” on “The Office”) to name but a few. The soundtrack was also good with music from CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revival) and others like John Mayer.
In the movie, Steve Carell is a former newscaster who has just made it big in the political arena as he has been elected congressman. Carell, who plays the main character Evan Baxter in the film, prides himself on his achievements and success. Yet, just when he thinks he has life by the coattails and everything perfectly “planned out,” that all gets interrupted—or so it seems—by God! In a manner similar to some of the great Church fathers such as St. Francis of Assisi and Martin Luther, it is one verse of Scripture which Baxter comes across that totally changes his life: Genesis 6.14.
As for some thoughts on the movie itself, I must say that it was quite refreshing to go to a theater and see a show that paralleled a Bible story but didn’t mock it. While the movie kind of places the ancient story of Noah’s Ark in a modern context, it does not attempt to be a perfect replication of it—expecting it to would cause the viewer to totally miss the point! Still though, there are some neat parallels: 1) The frequent “Gen. 6.14” allusions, 2) the animals coming 2x2, 3) God as Creator, 4) Building the ark (out of Gopherwood which, in the movie is from “Alpha & Omega” lumber company—a creative little play on words there), and 5) society making a mockery of “New York Noah” and the whole notion of him building an ark.
The movie has a few simple twists, no foul language and no explicit content—it is definitely fit for Christians and children to view. Another thing that I liked was the fact that “God” was cast as a good, positive character and for once at least, Hollywood filmmakers weren’t cursing him; however, one of the dangers here could be that the many people who already despise the notion of a God could become even less tolerant of the idea.
Though the movie is rather lighthearted, it has a lot of themes that Christians need to pick up on and think about. For example, the way that we treat God’s creation: are we meant to “dominate it” and “lord over it” or tend it and care for it? Of course, Christians should choose the latter. In a day where environmental issues are being discussed more and more, one of the things this movie asks us to do is to have a healthy theology of creation.
There are other good themes that the movie brings up such as: faithfulness, courage and boldness, being world changers, God and Christians in politics, family values, the love and wrath of God and prayer. The film also critiques negative things such as: selfishness, materialism, treating God like a celestial Santa Claus and manipulating people. Some of the great quotes from the movie, though they may not seem as funny here if you’re unable to put them in context, are:
1. “You want me to get my BB guns?”
2. “Whatever I do, I do because I love you.”
3. “Why do you sound like Evan Baxter but look like a BeeGee?”
4. “What are you shootin’ up, Rogaine?”
5. “Well, I hope this is not our Last Supper!”
6. “Is that a llama with a hammer?”
If you have time soon, you should go see this movie; the people in the theater Kristi and I went to (us included) were laughing the entire time. I think that you’ll be surprised by some of the subtle twists and the simple but powerful theology that the movie conveys.
Oh, and make sure you don’t rush out of the theater too fast at the end, the credit reel is hilarious!