Jim Carrey (Bruce Nolan), Morgan Freeman (God), Jennifer Anistonová (Grace Connellyová), Philip Baker Hall (Jack Keller), Catherine Bellová (Susan Ortegová), Steven Carell (Evan Baxter)
How would you handle the most awesome responsibility in the universe?
(This synopsis contains spoilers.)"Bruce Almighty" is the story of a news reporter named Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) who covers fluff stories for TV news in Buffalo, New York. The story opens with Bruce in a bakery, spidery hairnet yanked over his forehead, diligently reporting on the largest cookie ever baked in Buffalo. At the end of the sequence, we are introduced to one of the films running jokes, "That's the way the cookie crumbles."Racing back to the station, Bruce gets caught in traffic and vents his frustration about the fact that his life is in a go-nowhere rut. Arriving late to an important meeting, fellow staffers--including nemesis, Evan Baxter (Steve Carrell)--needle Bruce mercilessly about his clownish coverage at the bakery, further exacerbating his bitterness about being stalled on his career path. In the exchange with Evan, we see that Bruce has a lively, but dark, sense of humor and won't take anything lying down. After the meeting, Bruce begs his boss, Jack Baylor (Philip Baker Hall), to consider him for the open anchor position.Later that night, Bruce watches the news with his live-in girlfriend, Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston), at a middle-class but homey one-bedroom apartment. Sitting on the couch with their dog, Grace tries unsuccessfully to enlist Bruce's help with a photo album commemorating highlights of their relationship, but Bruce is too preoccupied with feeling sorry for himself until he happens upon an x-rated photo of them making love, and whisks Grace off to the bedroom.The next morning, Bruce drops Grace off at the Red Cross to give blood. He's still in a bad mood, so she gives him her prayer beads, saying he needs them more than she does. Bruce reluctantly takes the prayer beads, which are useless to him since he never prays, and makes fun of Grace for wasting her time giving blood.At the station, Bruce learns he's being sent into the field to cover an important story at Niagara Falls, assuming from this apparent promotion that he is in line for the anchor position that just opened up. The producer sets the scene in front of the spectacular falls, with Bruce in a comical umbrella hat interviewing an elderly woman about early days at Niagara.Surrounded by the tremendous rushing of the falls, Bruce is interrupted mid-interview for a big announcement from the station, waiting breathlessly to hear that he got anchor. Instead, the position is awarded to Evan, and Bruce has a serious meltdown in front of the camera, repeatedly insulting Evan, verbally abusing the two interviewees, and then capping off his report with the statement "Back to you, fuckers!" Needless to say, the network fires Bruce, and he is thrown out on the street with all his stuff, including a framed photograph of Walter Cronkite. Bruce responds with another of his running jokes, the sarcastic remark, "B-E-A-U-tiful!"Bruce arrives home late to dinner and picks a fight with Grace, who tries her best to appease him. In a rage at life, he turns on her, calling their life together mediocre. She takes it personally, which inflames him all the more, and he slams out of the apartment, yelling, "The worst day of my life with a side order of GUILT please!"Increasingly furious, Bruce goes for a drive, shaking the prayer beads and cursing heaven. It's raining hard as he gets out of the car, lost in the turmoil of his feelings, continuing to berate God, crossing the highway, without regard for oncoming traffic, to toss the prayer beads as far out into the lake as he can.Back at the apartment next morning, Bruce's beeper starts to go off repeatedly with a high-pitched shriek. He doesn't recognize the number and finally gets so annoyed that he tosses the beeper out into the street, where it gets run over by a car. The dog, who is not housebroken, pees on a chair, so Bruce takes him outside, only to hear the flattened beeper still going off in the middle of the street.Aggravated beyond words, and unable to stop the beeper from going off, Bruce calls the number and listens to a tape recording of someone who apparently knows everything that's going on in his life. Intrigued, he drives to the address he got over the phone, finding himself in Buffalo's warehouse district.Bruce gets out of car to look for the address, stepping in a huge, filthy puddle that splashes all over his jeans. He enters a warehouse to find that the ground floor is empty except for an African-American janitor (Morgan Freeman) mopping the floor. Bruce asks for directions to room seven on the seventh floor, finding much to his annoyance that the elevator doesn't work. As he heads for the stairs, the janitor asks him to help mop the floor, and Bruce retorts that he would be happy to help in seven days at seven o'clock.Arriving on the seventh floor, Bruce finds himself in a huge, empty room that's painted stark white. As he calls out for help, the janitor climbs down a ladder through a hole in the ceiling connected to a brightly lighted room above. Bruce think the janitor must have taken the elevator to get there ahead of him, and watches while he strips off his coveralls and sits down behind a white desk impeccably dressed in a white suit and tie, disclosing--much to Bruce's amusement--that he is, in fact, God.God proceeds to prove his powers by showing Bruce a file cabinet that contains everything that ever happened in his life. The drawer is so long that it pushes Bruce all the way across the room, then slams shut again dragging Bruce along behind. Bruce is still skeptical, so he and God play a game where God guesses how many fingers Bruce will hold up. Bruce is finally convinced that something strange is going on when he holds up one hand with seven fingers just as God says, "Seven."God has a plan for Bruce. Since Bruce thinks God isn't doing a very good job, he will give Bruce all his powers and see if Bruce can do any better. God retreats to his ladder, clapping for the lights to go back on so he can climb back up. "Clap on, clap on," is another joke that repeats throughout the film. Bruce makes a quick exit, not believing a word of what this self-proclaimed God has told him.Outside in the street, Bruce finds that he can walk across the puddle that tripped him up earlier. His car won't start until he bangs his hands on the steering wheel and yells, "Start!" As he drives, he realizes that all his fantasies--such as for example being Clint Eastwood---easily come true.Bruce stops at a diner to order coffee and the waitress convinces him to add an order of tomato soup. He agrees, then decides to try out parting the Red Sea with his bowl tomato soup. The soup parts in two, Bruce's hair flying back, scaring another customer and the waitress out of their wits. God appears out of nowhere, sitting in the booth across from Bruce as he finally comes to the realization that he does indeed possess all of God's powers.Once Bruce has come to this realization, he is set on his path. First and foremost, he evens the score with some gangbangers who harassed him in the street right after he got fired. Next he conjures up a new car and a new outfit for himself. A sexy woman walks past and he makes her dress fly up so he can see her underwear.Back at the apartment, Bruce comes in with a bouquet of strange flowers--a cross between tulips and daisies--for Grace. He apologizes and starts making love to her, pulling the moon down closer while waiting for her to get ready. Bruce uses all his powers to make their lovemaking as sensational as possible. The next morning, Grace discovers that her breasts have grown larger. He eats a quick breakfast then tells her he's going to get his job back.Bruce's plan includes finding the long missing body of Jimmy Hoffa. When he reports back to the station everyone applauds and Bruce is hired back to his old job of reporting on fluff stories that all somehow turn out to be late breaking news. On Evan's first night as anchor, Bruce uses his special powers to endow him with a humiliating stutter.Bruce becomes increasingly enchanted with his new powers and ability to do anything he wants to make his life better. He tries to be good to Grace who thinks that he's on the verge of a marriage proposal. They go out for dinner at the restaurant where they first met, and he gets down on his knees in a romantic way, not for a marriage proposal, but to brag that he finally got anchor!Grace is confused and hurt by Bruce's odd behavior, and the bizarre things that are happening around the apartment, such as their dog learning how to use and even flush the toilet. In the meantime, Bruce starts hearing voices in the background, like a huge crowd that's chattering away at a distance. Sometimes the noise increases almost to a roar and starts to overwhelm him.God appears and informs Bruce that he's hearing the sound of people praying. Bruce tries various ways to deal with all the prayers, finally using a computer program that downloads everybody's prayers like email. He tries to go through all the prayers one at a time but finds it an impossible task. Giving up, he hits a key and yells, "Yes to all!" Unfortunately, this means that everybody who was praying to win the lottery wins all at once, so each winner only gets $17 and chaos ensues. Bruce's self-centered and incompetent attempts at playing God are beginning to wreak havoc all over the globe.Bruce roams the city in despair, and suddenly finds himself up on top of Mt. Everest with God, thinking that he might be in heaven. They talk and God shows Bruce that he has only been using his power in selfish ways and this is destroying everything, including Bruce's relationship with Grace. If Bruce wants a miracle, he's going to have to "be the miracle," giving voice to main theme of the film.The network holds a party to celebrate Bruce's promotion to anchor. By now, Grace is completely alienated and refuses to attend. Using his powers, Bruce finds a way to persuade her, but she arrives to find Bruce not quite resisting a sexy co-worker who's trying to seduce him. This is the last straw for Grace and she breaks off the relationship.Bruce arrives back at his lonely apartment, finally realizing that he's going to have to start using his special powers to help people in need. He can't use special powers to housebreak his dog, he has to use intelligence, patience, and ingenuity. He still tries to use his special powers to try to get Grace back, but it doesn't work since he's breaking one of the rules God gave him... that he can't use his powers to "mess with free will." When he complains about his, God replies, "Welcome to my world."Bruce races back to the warehouse where he first met God, and finds him mopping the floor. Coincidentally, it's seven o'clock on the seventh day since they first met, so God hands Bruce a mop and says, "Right on time." They mop the floor together and Bruce finally understands what he has to do to fix the mess he has made.Bruce makes amends to Evan, ensures that he is reassigned to anchor, and goes back to covering human interest fluff stories. He even finishes the photo album that Grace started to commemorate the highlights of their relationship. When Grace's sister (Lisa Ann Walter) comes to pick up Grace's stuff, and sees that Bruce has finished the album, she takes pity on him and tells him that Grace prays for him all the time.Bruce races to his computer and downloads Grace's prayers. A new one comes in and he realizes she's praying for him right then. He watches her cry and, seeing her desperate unhappiness, feels utterly forlorn and helpless. Wandering around the city in a state of emotional anguish, much like the night he got fired, he kneels in the middle of the road to pray and is smacked head on by an oncoming truckBruce suddenly finds himself up in the clouds face-to-face with God in heaven. They have a conversation during which God teaches Bruce how to pray. When Bruce gets the hang of it, God presses his fingers against Bruce's chest and there's a huge crashing buzz that Bruce finds very painful. Next, Bruce awakens to glaring lights in the middle of the road with an EMT defibrillating him.Next, we find Bruce in a hospital bed looking pretty bashed up. Grace comes and climbs in the bed, full of compassion and forgiveness. After his discharge, still in a cast, he returns to the bakery where we found him at the beginning of the film. The bakers display a huge cookie in the shape of a hypodermic needle to promote the Red Cross blood drive and a huge crowd has gathered to donate. Bruce announces that he and Grace are engaged, and goes off with her to give blood, repeating the film's theme, "Be the miracle."