Saturday, June 23, 2007


This review of Evan Almighty is hella good. The author, David Plotz says a lot of things in an indirect way that I really appreciate and wish would be said aloud. I hope that the author will not take exception to me quoting one section at length:

You might argue that making a comedy about Noah's ark—one of the Bible's
grimmest stories—is a bit like making a sex farce about the Rwandan genocide.
But the problem is not the comic aspiration. VeggieTales is proof that Bible comedy based on unpleasant
stories is possible. No, what's disturbing about Evan Almighty is its flaccid
approach to faith. All that is compelling, moving, and profound about the Noah
story has been systematically excised. In the Bible, God chooses Noah to survive
because Noah is a righteous man. But Evan is faithless and stupid, and comes to
believe in God only because God hammers him over the head with about 137
miracles. Any moron will believe when an omnipotent divine being appears in the
back seat of his car and starts sending him pairs of lions and giraffes. The
lesson of the Bible is that faith is hard, and unrewarding, and painful. Faith
is belief when there are no giraffes.

Shadyac told one early screening of religious leaders that he wants to
use the film "to spread the idea of the good news." But Evan Almighty also
strips away anything Christian (or Jewish) about the story and replaces it with
a message of universal hokum. God's entire instruction to his flock? Practice
"acts of random kindness." (Look at the initial letters of that phrase.) That's
not religion or even morality. It's a coffee mug slogan. The proof of Evan's
redemption is that he starts to like dogs.

I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but Evan Almighty makes me
miss The Passion. It was a sadistic, horrifying movie, about a bloody and
terrifying book. But Mel Gibson captured the sense of the story, the ideas of
suffering and sacrifice that undergird Christianity. Evan Almighty is evidence
that Hollywood wants the trappings of faith in movies, but without the


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