Bruce Almighty

After a majestic flop his last time in theaters, Jim Carrey returns to more familiar comedic territory in the new film Bruce Almighty. While Carreys antics are good for some laughs, the film ultimately falls apart, thanks to a heavy-handed screenplay with enough sugar and sweetness to induce a diabetic coma.Carrey who last starred in The Majestic plays Bruce Nolan, a Buffalo television reporter with high hopes for an anchor position. Bruces hopes are dashed by rival reporter Evan Baxter (Steve Carell).The incident is the final straw, causing Bruce to question if God is doing his job. God (Morgan Freeman) hears this and makes Bruce an offer to take over while he goes on vacation.Soon Bruce has everything hes ever wanted, at the expense of the love of his life, Grace (Jennifer Aniston).The film begins strong with a solid opening hour full of some really big laughs. Bruces on-air breakdown generates the biggest laugh, but there is some humor in the initial reaction to his newfound powers (even if most of the gags are given away in the films trailer).Its not until hour two that the film becomes way too sentimental for its own good. Director Tom Shadyac has had a tendency to make films that steer a little too far toward the sentimental side, from the 1997 Jim Carrey hit Liar, Liar to the Robin Williams disaster Patch Adams (Im still waiting for my two hours back from that fiasco, Mr. Shadyac). With that in mind, its not too surprising that hour two becomes an overbearing romantic comedy that kills most of the momentum from hour one. Its the same type of sentimentality that killed Liar, Liar and something that Shadyac really needs to work on as a director.The cast is fine, considering the miserably self-pitying script. Carrey continues to prove he has a gift for comedy and his scenes with Freeman have a certain charm that works for the most of the film.Aniston is fine as the romantic lead, considering the scripts limitations, and Freeman rebounds from the terrible Steven King film Dreamcatcher.But there is only so much the cast can do. Its frustrating because the premise is there if put in the right hands. Instead we get Shadyac and screenwriters Steve Koren, Mark O Keefe and Steve Oedekerk, with the result being a second-rate comedy that could have been more.If sportswriter/movie reviewer Micheal Compton could play God for a day or two, hed take prayers by e-mail at mcompton@bgdailynews.com.