“Evan Almighty,” review by Susan Granger

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On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Evan Almighty” is a stultifying, self-righteous, sanctimonious 5, desperately needing divine intervention.

In this only mildly amusing sequel to “Bruce Almighty,” Steve Carrell (“The 40 Year-Old Virgin”) plays Evan Baxter, an arrogant Buffalo, New York, TV anchorman-turned-Congressman, who loads up his Hummer and moves to a huge house in suburban Virginia with his wife, Joan (Lauren Graham), and their three young sons.

Vowing to “change the world,” Evan arrives at the Capitol and discovers – to the delight of his staff (Wanda Sykes, John Michael Higgins and Jonah Hill) – that he’s been invited to co-sponsor a high-profile, anti-environmental bill by one of the House’s most powerful members (John Goodman). But much to the chagrin of his neglected family, Evan’s work load is overwhelming.

Then God (Morgan Freeman) appears, commanding Evan to build an ark because a mighty flood is imminent. Ancient tools appear along with truckloads of lumber. Relying on “Ark Building for Dummies,” Evan reluctantly begins, as birds and animals appear two-by-two, including elephants, lions, tigers, leopards, giraffes, Kodiak bears, zebras, reindeer, camels, buffalos, porcupines and skunks, to name a few.

Suddenly and inexplicably long-haired, bearded and clad in robes – surrounded by furry or feathered companions – Evan’s faith is sorely tested as he’s held up to ridicule as the “New York Noah.”

Written as a family-friendly parable by Steve Oedekerk, Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow – and there’s definitely an audience for contemporary adaptations of Bible stories – but heavy-handedly directed by Tom Shadyac, it’s preachy and ponderous.

God works in mysterious ways but, having been an anchorwoman (on WNHC and then WTNH in New Haven), I can assure you that no newscaster can continue on-air while running for political office.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Evan Almighty” is a stultifying, self-righteous, sanctimonious 5, desperately needing divine intervention.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.