“BRUCE ALMIGHTY” OFFENDS MOVIE CRITICS

Catalyst July/August Issue 2003

When the movie “Bruce Almighty” came out, the first thing we noticed was how many film critics were angry at the spiritual ending of this flick. So we decided to turn the tables on the critics and make them the issue. It worked. Our news release landed William Donohue on TV and it was discussed on the celebrity page of New York newspapers. Here’s how Donohue framed the issue:

“Louis Giovino, the Catholic League’s director of communications, came to work today expecting to see ‘Bruce Almighty’; the film has comedian Jim Carrey playing God. But then I noticed that so many movie critics were upset with the religious-laden ending to the flick. This made me very happy. Indeed, it made my day. Consider the following:

      • Miami Herald: It “lacks the insane, anything-goes energy this premise deserved” and that’s because the director wants “to protect the feel-good fuzzies awaiting the final reel.” It also has an “insufferably schmaltzy, marshmallow ending.”
      • New York Times: It has a “preachy, goody-goody conclusion.”
      • Pitch Weekly (Kansas City): “By the time this comedy hits the top of its arc, Bruce has to pay the piper.” Which means that regrettably the film closes with “a surge of spiritual uplift.”
      • Salon.com: “Given America’s religious climate” the director “didn’t want to risk offending anybody.”
      • Saint Paul Pioneer Press: The movie was fine until it “switches, getting all ‘Patch Adams’ on us with an uplifting sermon on the importance of praying every day.”
      • Rocky Mountain News: It ends with “a purifying third-act plunge into a font of sentiment.” It is unfortunate that “a reasonably funny comedy genuflects at the altar of director Frank Capra.”
      • Newsday: “Unfortunately, religious fervor moves in and sinks the last 20 minutes.” Also, “You don’t have to be an atheist or an ACLU attorney to be creeped out by the movie’s lip-service spirituality, which panders to the common denominator….”
      • AP: “The tone turns from wacky to preachy,” so much so that the movie “couldn’t keep this lapsed Catholic from praying that the film would end.”

“Isn’t it nice to know what offends movie critics these days?”


Share

Written by Bill