Evan Almighty opens with Evan Baxter (Steve Carell), Buffalo’s TV news anchorman, celebrating his newly won election to Congress. With his wife Joan (Lauren Graham) and three sons Dylan (Johnny Simmons), Jordan (Graham Phillips) and Ryan (Jimmy Bennett), Evan sets off for Capitol Hill. Evan begins his first day as a Congressman intent on both changing the world and spending more time with his family. He is soon approached by Congressman Chuck Long (John Goodman), who is seeking Evan’s sponsorship in the passing of a new bill which, unbeknown to Evan, will cause the destruction of forest land and wildlife.
Evan is inundated with work and his good intentions of spending more time with his family fly out the window. Joan prays to God to help the family grow closer together, while Evan asks God to help him in his fight to change the world. The next morning Evan wakes up to find a large wooden box in his hallway filled with rather ancient woodworking tools.
From here on, Evan is plagued by strange occurrences including large stacks of lumber being delivered to his front yard, animals appearing in his yard two by two, and large flocks of birds flying through his office window to perch on his shoulder. Evan is visited by God (Morgan Freeman), who informs Evan there will be a flood, and that he must build an Ark and fill it with two of every kind of animal.
Initially, Evan refuses to believe and ignores God’s directive. He eventually relents and agrees to build the ark, and his real adventures begin.
The Bible story of Noah’s Ark; political corruption; destruction of the environment
Only the flood scene is very violent because of its threat and intensity. The film mostly has scenes of mild slapstick violence and accidental injury. For example:
- Evan falls to the ground when he is surrounded by a flock of birds. He is pecked on the hand by a woodpecker.
- Evan is cruel to a dog, calling it names and taking water away from it.
- Even has many mishaps while building the ark. For example, he drops a large log on his foot causing him to scream; he hits himself in the face with a saw; he overbalances and falls from the top of a high pile of lumber; he hits his head on a beam of wood and hits his hand several times with a hammer, screaming in pain each time.
- Evan screams when his wife pulls a splinter from his hand.
- Congressman Long subtly threatens Evan by suggesting that ‘the pack kills the loner for the good of the pack’.
- Flocks of birds and animals, including lions, follow Evan into a crowded congress room. People run out screaming, and Evan is manhandled and forcibly removed from congress.
- A news reporter screams when he comes face to face with two roaring lions.
- Several police officers threaten to forcibly remove Evan and his family from his ark.
- A dam breaks, releasing an unstoppable wall of water that washes away all in its path. People run screaming from the oncoming wall of water. They run into the ark which is tossed around like a toy boat throwing people against each other and knocking them against walls. No-one is injured. Numerous houses are washed away by the wall of water. The ark crashes into houses and is swept over a waterfall. The ark looks in danger of crashing into a bridge, but at the last moment a giant wave pushes the ark over the top of the bridge.
- An alpaca spits green saliva into Congressman Long’s face.
- Two wolves bare their teeth and snarl at Congressman Long.
Content that may disturb children
- In one scene, two giant tarantulas and two snakes crawl over Evan’s shoulders while he is driving his car.
- Floodwater destroys houses, the ark crashes into houses, and people are thrown about on the Ark.
- Two lions roar at the reporter.
Most children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by any scenes in this film.
- A young male assistant tells Evan, ‘I love you’. It is meant as admiration, but Evan appears unsure of how to take the comment. The young man then asks Evan if they could hang out socially.
- A billboard is shown depicting the film The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
- Evan’s son makes reference to a duck’s penis being as long as its body.
- Reference is made to Evan going through adult puberty.
- Asked about his long hair, Evan states that he is ‘trying to spice up his love life’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
- A woman opens a bottle of champagne, but no-one is seen drinking it.
- An open bottle of wine is depicted on a dinner table along with two glasses containing wine, but no-one is seen drinking.
- Reference is made to Evan ‘shooting up Rogaine’.
- Evan is asked if he is on something: ‘Is it mega-growth hormones?’
- Evan is asked if he is on ‘that Fen Phen’ (a popular diet drug from the 1990s).
Nudity and sexual activity
There is a scene in which Evan goes to walk out his front door fully clothed, but as he steps outside he finds that he is nude (Evan’s bare chest and abdomen are seen). A female postal worker stares at him.
This movie contains occasional mild coarse language, name-calling and put-downs.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Evan Almighty is a family comedy based loosely on the bible story of Noah’s Ark. Children over five who enjoy stories that involve animals, slapstick comedy and toilet humour will find the film particularly appealing.
The main message from this movie is that an individual has the power to change the world through one act of random kindness (ARK). You might like to talk to your child about this phenomenon as well as some of the values in this movie such as trust, kindness, self-sacrifice, perseverance, and environmental awareness.
You could also talk about how your family feels about things such as the responsibility that comes with a position of power, the notion of being ‘successful, powerful, handsome and happy’, and what families can do to be closer together.