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<i>Bruce Almighty</i> Tops US Most Popular Movie List - 2003-05-28

Jim Carrey said "let there be laughs" and the audience saw that it was good. His irreverent new comedy unloads The Matrix sci-fi sequel from the top spot on the North American box office chart.

Alan Silverman lists this week's top five movies starting with a comedy re-make at number five.

Albert Brooks plays a timid doctor whose daughter is engaged to the son of reckless secret agent Michael Douglas; but before the wedding the two prospective fathers-in-law wind up on a madcap, death-defying escapade in The In-Laws an update of the 1969 comedy that starred Alan Arkin and Peter Falk. Brooks says this new version starts with the same premise, but he insists it is not a re-make.

"I was very firm. I said 'if you want me in this movie, I don't want to drag that one through the mud," he said. " The idea of two guys like this meeting can be done again. That's not sacrilegious; but you're not going to go to South America, you're not going to have the dictator. You're going to make a movie now 25 years later. So The In-Laws premise can live forever. What Alan Arkin and Peter Falk did was fine, but we're not the same actors."

Also featuring Candice Bergen and directed Andrew Fleming, the 2003 version of The In-Laws opens up in fifth place.

X2: X-Men United brings back the mutant heroes featured three years ago in the original X-Men film, based on the characters from the popular Marvel Comic Book series. Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Patrick Stewart co-star and X2: X-Men United ends up at number four.

Eddie Murphy has a crowd-pleaser with his latest comedy; he plays a laid-off advertising executive who opens a new business and discovers a new purpose to his life, providing day care to boisterous youngsters.

Steve Zahn and Jeff Garlin co-star and Daddy Day Care slips a spot to third place.

The war of humans versus intelligent machines reaches new levels in The Matrix Reloaded continuing the futuristic metaphysical mystery begun with the original Matrix in 1999. Laurence Fishburne returns as Morpheus, who believes that Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, is 'the one' destined to free humankind from enslavement by the machines. Carrie-Anne Moss co-stars as fellow cyber-warrior Trinity and her gravity-defying martial arts sequences are all the more impressive considering Moss broke her leg just before filming began.

"I broke my leg the first week of training. I was on the wire and I landed wrong. It was an instant obstacle to overcome at the beginning of my two-year journey on the film. It was a good lesson for me, though," she said.

The story concludes with a third film, The Matrix Revolutions that opens worldwide in November. The Matrix Reloaded, written and directed by filmmaking brothers Andy and Larry Wachowski, set box office records when it opened last weekend; but a sharp drop of more than 55 percent puts it in second place. In a stunning upset, Jim Carrey's comedy Bruce Almighty scores a big number one opening.

Carrey plays disgruntled Bruce, who shakes his fist at heaven once too often and finds himself endowed with divine powers while God takes a much-needed vacation.

Fans filled theaters over the Memorial Day holiday weekend to see Carrey do the kind of unrestrained comedy that made him a star; but he insists that the important thing is to entertain the audience, even if that means letting someone else tell the jokes.

"I love funny people," said Carrey. "Put me with somebody funny and I'll have a great time. I don't care who gets the laugh. I don't care who gives me the joke. If a [crew member] gives me a joke, it's great. It's fantastic. It just makes it funny and that's all I want. I want the people to leave the theater having a great old time whether I got the laugh or someone else did."

Morgan Freeman and Jennifer Anniston co-star and Bruce Almighty has a heavenly opening to start its run as the new most popular movie at North American theaters.