Heart-warming and ridiculous, cute and trite, the second installment of the Almighty franchise is sure to polarize audiences nearly as powerfully as the religious texts which it references throughout.

Linked primarily by Morgan Freeman's eerily satisfactory impersonation of the Lord in need of Earthly help, this film finds former 40-year-old virgin and comic actor du jour Steve Carell starring as Evan, a nervous first-term Congressman. (He was a minor, forgettable character in the first film.)

The first divine assistant, manic and tortured Bruce (Jim Carey), was given almighty powers to answer prayers and fix the numerous problems of Earth. Evan, reluctant and eventually understanding, is asked only to follow the passages around Gen. 6:14, in which God asked Noah to build an ark to save his family and paired animals from an imminent flood.

Heart-warming and ridiculous, cute and trite, the second installment of the Almighty franchise is sure to polarize audiences nearly as powerfully as the religious texts which it references throughout.

Linked primarily by Morgan Freemanís eerily satisfactory impersonation of the Lord in need of Earthly help, this film finds former 40-year-old virgin and comic actor du jour Steve Carell starring as Evan, a nervous first-term Congressman. (He was a minor, forgettable character in the first film.)

The first divine assistant, manic and tortured Bruce (Jim Carey), was given almighty powers to answer prayers and fix the numerous problems of Earth. Evan, reluctant and eventually understanding, is asked only to follow the passages around Gen. 6:14, in which God asked Noah to build an ark to save his family and paired animals from an imminent flood.

Donít worry too much about Gen. 8:20, in which God promises never to send a destructive flood or require an ordinary man to create a giant boat. Some plot twists involving a corrupt politician (John Goodman) and some rosy reinterpretation circumvent what otherwise would render this movie moot.

Worry instead about the peculiar events and weak characters that occur in the most costly comedy ever produced. I donít want to crap on this movie to hard, since I wasnít watching it nestled between a wife and several young children, but this attempt at pleasing everyone will end up puzzling most.

Evan is a telling example of how the filmís everyman ambitions fall short.

Carell is a genius at mimicking the eager but misguided modern professional, but his act works only when not shackled by a PG rating. His genius moments in The Office involve off-color jokes and self-aggrandizement; as Evan, his most reliable laugh-getter is a celebratory dance his sons think is lame.

Other developments only bolster the familiarities at work in a plot that could hold much promise: his familyís departure and quick reconciliation; the site gags involving adorable livestock; and the triumph of individuality over a name-calling mass.

Grade: C+ Other reviews from local critics