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Jim Carrey Attempts to Rule the Universe in New Comedy <i>Bruce Almighty</i> - 2003-05-24

Jim Carrey plays a frustrated man who learns it's n-o-t easy to rule the universe in a new comedy co-starring Jennifer Aniston and Morgan Freeman. Alan Silverman has a look at Bruce Almighty.

Local TV reporter Bruce Nolan is fed up. His job covering oddball news is not leading him to the anchor desk; if there's a bad traffic jam it's bound to be in his path; and if there's a mud puddle, he'll trip into it.

Finally Bruce shakes his fist at heaven once too often. Mysteriously summoned to an empty warehouse, he finds himself face to face with a serene stranger.

He learns that becoming Bruce Almighty is fun, at first, but ultimately it takes a lot of work to keep order in the universe. Jim Carrey stars as Bruce and says mixed with the comedy is a message he takes to heart.

"This movie is more about somebody being grateful for what they have," explains Carrey. " [It's like] sitting in front of a banquet table and saying 'hey! there are no grapes! I can't eat this without the grapes!' It's about appreciating what you have as well as exploring."

Morgan Freeman, resplendent in white linen suits plays God, a role the veteran actor says is really not that difficult.

"If God is written as just a person who talks like you and I then that's just how you have to approach it" says Freeman. " Someone wrote this character is actually God, so, okay, what does God say to anybody? God says 'hey, I'm God.' If you try to approach it any other way you're really going to screw up. "

Carrey, who is also producer of Bruce Almighty, says this imagining of God appreciates a good laugh.

"We've always tried to humanize him in some way, but I wanted God in this to be a guy who is absolutely dignified, has this austere quality and a no-nonsense [attitude]; but at the same time he has a sense of humor, because God made our sense of humor, you know," Carrey says.

Providing an emotional center to Bruce's earthly (and earthy) pursuits is his girlfriend, a sweet and sincere teacher played by Jennifer Aniston, co-star of the hit TV comedy Friends. Carrey says he enjoyed the contrast between her calmer comic style and his own brand of craziness.

"We worked well off each other because Jennifer is a completely different person than me," says Carrey. " I'm a person who just kind of throws myself out there and does all kinds of wild stuff. She is like the center of the wheel and I'm [running] all around her. She's the type of person who can sit there and allow things to come to her. I seek things out and destroy them. So it's a wonderful kind of mix. She's very solid and kind of centered."

"I think my stillness which, as he so beautifully said, was anchoring him was absolute fear of 'what am I doing? How am I going to match up and volley with Jim Carrey?' " adds Aniston.

Jennifer Aniston says she wasn't just playing a character.

"You see him coming in going 'what's going to be funny today?' Also, he took physical comedy and brought it to a whole other level for me. I had bruises and rug burns; I was thrown across rooms. You didn't know what to expect," she says.

Bruce Almighty is written by Steve Oedekerk and directed by Tom Shadyac. Their previous collaborations with Jim Carrey include the hits Ace Ventura, Pet Detective and Liar, Liar.