Bruce Almighty

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search


God: "In a way, I'm here to offer you a job."
Bruce: "Job? What job?"
God: "My job. When you leave this building, you will be endowed with all of my powers."
Bruce: "Whatever you say, pal."
(Bruce rushes out, walking on water in the process)

A 2003 comedy film starring Jim Carrey as a down-on-his-luck reporter named Bruce Nolan. After being turned down for a job as an anchorman, he complains to God that He isn't doing His job the right way...so God gives Bruce His powers to see what he can do with them.

Though the film received mixed reviews, it is currently Carrey's highest-grossing film, grossing almost half a billion dollars worldwide. It received a sequel, Evan Almighty, starring Steve Carell as Evan Baxter, a supporting character from this film.


Tropes used in Bruce Almighty include:
  • 555: Averted in the initial theatrical release, but played straight for the home versions because, as explained in the commentary, the phone number wasn't owned by the studio and people who owned the same number across the U.S. were getting plagued with phone calls.
    • By sheer coincidence, the original phone number in the movie release was also the number to two different churches on opposite sides of the United States. (And the pastor at one of those churches was actually named Bruce.)
    • Weirdly, it's not a valid phone number in area code 716, where the film takes place.
  • AB Negative: Jennifer Aniston proudly declare herself to be AB+.

Grace: I've got a very rare blood type. I'm AB positive.
Bruce: Well I'm IB positive. I be positive they ain't touching me with no needle.

Bruce: Run home, little anal-dwelling Butt Monkey!

  • Banned in China: Banned in Egypt and Malaysia for showing God in human form. The ban in Malaysia was eventually lifted.
  • Breast Expansion: Bruce tried this on his girlfriend almost as soon as he got the powers of God, despite the fact that the girlfriend already looked like Jennifer Aniston. See also Jerkass.
    • What Could Have Been: The original plan was for Grace's breasts to continue growing throughout the film; instead of the one-time growth in the final film.
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: Played with. After Grace leaves Bruce, she sees signs everywhere reminding her of how much Bruce loved her. However, with Bruce being God, the signs were created by him as a means of trying to win her back.
  • Cosmic Plaything: How the Bruce treats just about everyone around him once he's endowed with God-like powers, with Evan receiving the worst of it.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Due to nobody winning the lottery jackpot (everybody that entered only won seventeen bucks) they start a riot.
    • Well, it's sort of a three-way riot between the lottery, the supposed end of the world and the Giants winning the Super Bowl.
    • The news crew that laugh at Bruce just before his return to glory end up busted with a comical amount of illegal drugs in their van. What must have been a serious set of sentences for all of them, just for laughing at a disgraced reporter.
  • Divine Assistance: The entire premise of the movie.
  • Everything but the Girl: Bruce is given the powers of God himself, and he still can't use them to get the girl. Worse, he already has the girl but his powers are no help in keeping her. In part the problem is his powers can't affect free will, but c'mon, that's not hard to get around.
  • Flipping the Bird: "Do you like jazz, Evan?"
  • Forceful Kiss: How Susan reveals to Bruce that she has feelings for him. Unfortunately, Grace was watching.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With
  • Divine Race Lift: God is played by Morgan Freeman.
  • God for a Day: The plot, basically.
  • God's Hands Are Tied: God lets Bruce do anything except interfere with free will, and tell people he has God's powers. It's likely God Himself can interfere with free will, but he doesn't because that would negate the purpose of free will in the first place.

God: You can't mess with free will.
Bruce: Can I ask why?
God: Yes you can! That's the beauty of it!

  • God Is Good: How God is conceptualized.
  • God Test: Bruce tries to catch God with a How Many Fingers? test. He cheats. So does God.
  • Grandpa God: This trope seems to have somewhat inspired the portrayal of God in the film, although it's maybe a little more friendly.
  • Greasy Spoon: The place where Bruce realizes God really did make him almighty.
  • Heroic BSOD: Bruce experiences one of these during a live report after finding out that Evan beat him to the anchorman's job, soon resulting in Bruce losing his own job.
  • Ironic Echo: "I hear they stockpile that stuff in a warehouse somewhere."
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Bruce at the end of the movie.
    • Grace. She stuck by Bruce even though he doesn't seem to appreciate his life and always wants more. She prays every night to help Bruce. In the end, Bruce broke her heart for the last time, but she still loves him and prays to God to remove those feelings.
  • Jerkass: As one review put it: "When events conspire to keep him from getting an open anchor position at a TV affiliate, Carrey turns his rage toward the heavens for failing to rescue him from the horrors of a steady wage, a lovely apartment, and a live-in girlfriend played by Jennifer Aniston."
    • He also uses his powers to blow a woman's skirt up and makes a leering and thinly-veiled remark about her body while she rushes to cover herself up, obviously mortified.
    • In a Deleted Scene, he sets Evan Baxter on fire!!!!
    • If you do become omnipotent, you might want to take two seconds to cure cancer or feed Africa or something, before you decide that Jennifer Aniston needs larger breasts.
      • By the way, did she ever say she was unhappy with her smaller breasts?
    • Of course, that's kind of the point. The entire plot of the movie is that he needs to learn humility and perspective.
    • Bruce's worst action during his time as God is even adressed in-story. He pulls the Moon closer to Earth just to momentarily wow his girlfriend, which results in massive tidal disturbances. The tsunami renders thousands of people homeless and displaced, and has probably killed a lot of people to boot[1]. And the actual God is allowing this to happen for the self-betterment of a single, entitled jerkwad (or He's just that committed to maintaining free will, even that of pseudo-deities).
      • A death toll's probably not mentioned because there most likely isn't one. It only mentions people being stranded. God is letting Bruce handle a lot of stuff but he's obviously steering things so they don't get too out of hand. And part of the point is that by bettering Bruce's life, Bruce will go on to better the life of others, and those others will do the same. He's teaching humanity as a whole to take care of each other using Bruce as a proxy.
  • Lampshade Hanging: "Cue the cheesy inspirational music!"
  • Large Ham: "ERRRROOOOOODIIIIIING!!!" Yeah... Let's just say that Jim Carrey was not afraid to unleash the hog in this one.
  • Let's See You Do Better: Basically what God says to Bruce as He gives him His powers.
  • Literal Genie: How Bruce apparently answers all prayers that float his way, or at least gives little heed to unforeseen consequences. He doesn't do this intentionally... he just answers "YES" to all prayers en masse because its easier than considering each one.
  • Magical Negro: Morgan Freeman is often cast in this role, but only in this movie and its sequel is it also taken literally.
  • Man in White: God is depicted this way.
  • Meaningful Name: Grace, Bruce's long-suffering girlfriend. (In Christian theology: Grace- a. the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. b. the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.)
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: Bruce's first act as God is to... part his tomato soup.
    • Technically, his first act was walking on the same puddle that he walked into right before meeting God earlier that day; however, that was completely by accident.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Before getting to work answering the prayers of the world, Bruce says he needs to "manifest himself some coffee." Juan Valdez and his donkey show up at his window and pour him a cup.
  • Orifice Evacuation: Taking a pun just a bit too far.
  • Paste Eater: One of Grace's students is constantly eating arts and crafts supplies. She comments that she expects him to poop an ornament any time now.
  • Power Perversion Potential: The entire concept of the film is basically an example of this. Specific examples of this include:
    • Bruce using his new powers to give Grace a mind-blowing orgasm without even touching her.
    • Also, the aforementioned boob-enlargening.
    • Also, causing a gust of wind to lift up a girl's skirt.
  • Precision F-Strike: Bruce's "back to you" line on live TV.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Done in a humorous manner.

God: [quoting Bruce] "The gloves are off, God!" "God has taken my bird and my bush!" "God is a mean kid with a magnifying glass!" "Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!!" Now, I'm not much for blaspheming, but that last one made me laugh.

  • Reality Warper: Guess who.
  • Say My Name: "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!!!!!"
  • Sex God: Bruce telekinetically gives his girlfriend intense sexual pleasure without touching her (at first).
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!: The Trope Namer.
  • Shout-Out: Bruce and the Butt-Monkey.
    • God even says "Alrighty then" at one point in the movie, albeit more low-key than how Ace Ventura usually said it.
    • When Bruce parts the red soup, the theme from The Ten Commandments plays.
    • Joan Osborne's song "One of Us" is referenced twice. First, Bruce sings the chorus when coming home and bringing Grace flowers. Later, as he's leaving for work, he sings an earlier part of the chorus, changing the line "Yeah, yeah, God is good..." to "Yeah, yeah, I am good..."
  • Space Whale Aesop: One of the film's messages is that the reason God doesn't answer a lot of prayers is because no matter what you do you can't make everyone happy. The problem is that when Bruce answered "yes" to all prayers, he did make everyone happy, a lot of people were happy, the chaos of the third act was caused by him abusing his powers with things like making the moon's orbit closer to Earth and calling down a meteor impact, making people think the world was going to end. The only prayer that backfired was that so many people prayed to win the lottery they all had to split the prize and only won $17, which is still Bruce's fault for not thinking that one through fully.
    • A deleted scene delves into this more fully, showing specific people who's prayer's Bruce answered, and then eventually showing that while he did make them happy in the short run, it ultimately wasn't what was best for them (i.e. a bullied kid suddenly becoming strong enough to fend off his bullies, only to become a bully himself, eventually becoming a pro wrestler, testing positive for steroids, and ending up managing a fast food joint, when he originally would've channeled his memories of bullying into becoming a best-selling author.)

God: If you want to paint pictures like these, you have to use some dark colors.

  • Spear Carrier: "Duh."
  • Stealth Pun: One of Bruce's first acts of God is to part the Red Soup.
  • Stop Worshipping Me!: Bruce wishes people would stop sending him prayers.
  • Title Drop: "I am Bruce Almighty! My will be done!"
  • Too Dumb to Live: Bruce almost literally. Not only does he not know how to help people, despite having the powers of God, but he also doesn't realize that he could call up Einstein (or anyone else, for that matter) for advice. The only thing stopping Bruce from simply making himself smarter or, better yet, wiser, to go with the whole God schtick is this trope.
    • Well, sort of necessary in order to create any sort of feasible story in which a person is endowed with God's powers. If he wasn't, he'd literally become God and eradicate his own character. After all, they didn't even touch on omniscience, time alteration, clairsentience, spatial warping, multiple consciousnesses, etc. In fact, all he'd really have to do with that kind of power is ask questions and unless God stripped him of his memory, he'd pretty much approach equal footing (assuming it is a Christian variant of the deity, God doesn't hold "power" but "authority" (and yes, there is a significant difference) so knowing something so thoroughly would effectively grant authority over it (of course, this would probably eradicate his discernable personality too, since the perfection would yield a strictly eternal perspective, which would cause him . . . issues interacting in the temporal world)).
  • Vetinari Job Security: God taking a vacation resulted in the Medieval Age.
    • Which is quite ironic, given the rise of Christianity in the West in that time, notably in England.
  • Visual Pun: Bruce parts the Red Sea of tomato soup.
    • In the movie poster included on this page, Bruce literally has the world on a string.
  • Walking on Water: Nicely played with. At first it appears that God and Bruce are walking in a park or some such, until a sailboat glides behind them.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Parting of the Red Soup, and that's just for starters.
    • Bruce pouring milk, to the tune of "Chariots Of Fire". In slo mo. Into the glasses of hungry people waiting to eat the world's largest cookie.
  1. The death toll is never mentioned, probably to prevent the audience from absolutely loathing Bruce