Not even the Sweet Baby Jesus himself can conjure a profit for Evan Almighty at this point. “The most expensive comedy ever made” ($250 million) brought in a paltry $32 million this weekend.
Secular critics have crucified the Steve Carrell tale—ratings-tracking movie site Rotten Tomatoes gave it 22 percent on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, and a mere 9 percent from the “cream of the crop” reviewers.
Christians, on the other hand, blindly love this flick. Without the hardcore lord lovers, reports Deadline Hollywood, the “film might have gone down as one of the biggest bombs in Hollywood history.” It’s no accident that evangelical Eberts are flocking to this flick. Universal called upon Grace Hill Media, a L.A. publicity firm that handled the Chronicles of Narnia push and specializes in bringing God-friendly Hollywood fare to 200,000 or more churches and their congregations.
After the jump, a sampling of the divergent religious and secular reviews, from God to gawd.
• Village Voice: “This is PG-rated proselytizing tinged with Al Gore self-righteousness, all with the narrative thrust of a film about the apocalypse starring Kirk Cameron.”
• Onion AV Club: “It goes without saying that Evan Almighty, a kid-friendly follow-up to the Jim Carrey vehicle Bruce Almighty, is more Ronald McDonald than Holy Bible, but it didn’t have to be this epically trite.”
• NY Daily News: “This film is to faith what a box of animal crackers is to nature.”
• USA Today: “An almighty, humorless bore.”
• San Francisco Chronicle: “Limp, slow-moving, and desperately unfunny.”
• Rev. James Dobson: “We perceived Evan Almighty as a very entertaining movie which, although ‘over the top’ at times in its slapstick humor, will delight most viewers. It has many laudable features, including a strong presentation of family values and a [Ed. note: spoiler alert!] ‘feel good’ ending. The storyline includes no illicit sex or violence and was better—far better—than the usual Hollywood fare.”
• Christian Broadcasting Network blog: “The movie not only offers an entertaining story, but it provides some heart-warming glimpses of how God often works in our lives. While the plot appeals to adults, the film’s physical comedy and silly animal antics provide ample fodder to keep the young ones entertained as well. Load up the kids and climb aboard for a fun adventure!”
• Crosswalk.com: “Does Evan Almighty deliver laughs? It does. Not the side-clutching, gut-busting guffaws of the best comedies, but a gentle amusement, with several chuckles along the way. It’s a summer blockbuster for the under-10 set, as well as teens and adults.”