Steve Carell plays a modern-day Noah who is called upon to build an ark in Evan Almighty. It's a "mildly amusing" follow up to God comedy Bruce Almighty (2003), also directed by Tom Shadyac. Carell's comedy credentials, which include two Emmy nominations for the US version of The Office, put a good many bums on seats, although not nearly as many as Jim Carrey did with the first movie.
Float My Boat
An alternative version of the 'animal attack' sequence is included among 14 minutes of deleted footage. Shadyac overcomplicates the incident by hinting that it may be happening entirely in Evan's head. Still, younger viewers will be tickled by the sight of a sensible grown-up being terrorised by sheep. More slapstick shtick and a poop gag are thrown in for good measure. Carell is unleashed in the Unscripted featurette, but his canine co-star simply doesn't get the concept of improvisation. In the outtakes reel the mutt finally reacts, rabidly sinking his gnashers into Carell's 'private place...'
Shadyac insists that his recreation of the ark is "pretty accurate" - but compared to what? - in the featurette Ark-itects. Behind-the-scenes footage reveals that the giant vessel was built to scale in a grassy field in Virginia, but in case you're worried about all the trees that might have been cut down, the director assures us this production was carbon neutral. In the Almighty Green Set, Shadyac reveals that he purchased bicycles for cast and crew to get around and planted 2000 shrubs to offset all other carbon emissions. It's Easy Being Green is a call to action, informing us of the small ways we can help the planet eg "skip the drive-thru burgers" and walk to the burger bar instead. We dare say the Americans have their priorities a little mixed up...
Back to the film and Carell shows us the process of Becoming Noah. Facial hair plays a big part and, for that, he endured a 4-5 hour makeup job every morning. He models the evolution of the beard from razor stubble to "wolfman" and finally to the full-on flowing white beard. Being surrounded by animals helps to complete the look and in Two By Two we find out how the wranglers kept the critters in check. Apparently, alpacas are the biggest divas and take to spitting if they don't get their way. A featurette on visual effects shows us how the techno geeks replicated the animals for crowd shots using CGI as well as designing the final flood scenes from scratch.
A more lighthearted look at the casting of the animals finds a team of Hollywood agents roaming the Serengeti, barking directions at the wildebeest. Upping the warm and fuzzy factor is Acts of Random Kindness (aka A.R.K.), hearing from the cast on how to make the world a better place with the spirit of giving. Nobody mention Christianity though - it only works for Mel Gibson. The platitudes aside, this edition of Evan Almighty makes for inoffensive family viewing, although perhaps not on a rainy afternoon.
Evan Almighty DVD is released on Monday 26th November 2007.