Evan All-Mushy?

 

Yikes.

The hype for Evan Almighty is so big, you can hardly visit a Christian media website these days without the banner-ads knocking you senseless.

Well, sure, the charities that may gain from the movie are probably quite honorable. But wouldn’t it be nice if all of this well-intentioned philanthropy associated itself with a movie worth seing?

Just how good is this movie that so many will be paying out ten bucks a ticket to see? I haven’t seen it, so I can’t say. I’ll just point you to those who have seen it. And, well… I’m not saying you should believe them, but….

I’ll let you know if any of the usual, trustworthy suspects end up thinking it’s fantastic. But until they speak up, here are a few of the most prominent reviews so far. I’ve highlighted a few of the superlatives being thrown around.

Via Rotten Tomatoes:

Variety’s Brian Lowry:

The problems with Evan Almighty mostly boil down to questions of scale. The movie warns of an imminent flood, yet delivers only sprinkles of laughter or anything approaching magic. It’s mildly diverting for kids and families in a way that would be perfectly fine as an ABC Family cable project (perhaps before “The 700 Club”), but sails into the summer anchored to all the baggage and expectations a comedy with an enormous budget invites. Universal has courted church groups and will need them to line up, two by two and then some, to fully recoup on their epic investment.

Kirk Honeycutt (Hollywood Reporter):

Much of the slapstick comedy involved in the building is feeble, and the film never does something unexpected once the wheels are set in motion. Shadyac and Oedekerk rely on the nonhuman supporting cast for their comic shock and awe.

And then, via GreenCine Daily:

Slant’s Nick Schager:

Evan Almighty signals a passing of the torch, as Tom Shadyac’s follow-up to his 2004 Jim Carrey vehicle Bruce Almighty heralds Steve Carell as the new face of big-screen comedy. … As proven by the plummet of Carey’s box-office star, it’s a station not easily maintained, and one that necessitates far better – and funnier – films than this toothless biblical-themed sequel.

Robert Wilonsky:

At 89 minutes that last a lifetime, it’s a sanctimonious sitcom dolled up as the most expensive comedy ever made – $175 mil, so they say, no doubt choking – and marks an unfortunate low point in the history of recent American comedy, as it proves that Steve Carell can’t make a Bible school lesson funny. There goes his perfect game.

David Edelstein, in New York:

Evan Almighty runs out of comic invention early, and the filmmakers fall back on what real politicians do when they exhaust their small stash of ideas: brainless piety.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.


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