Universal Pictures' "Evan Almighty" was mighty enough to take the top spot at the box office this past weekend.

The Steve Carell comedy led moviegoers, not exactly two at a time, to the theatres with $32.1 million over the last three days.

Based on the character from 2004's "Bruce Almighty," Evan Baxter (Carell) has gone from the Buffalo TV station to being newly elected to Washington, D.C., as a congressman.

He's packed up his family, wife Joan (Lauren Graham) and three sons, Dylan (Johnny Simmons), Jordan (Graham Phillips) and Ryan (Jimmy Bennett) to move to a new development with a huge house in pursuit of a greater calling. His campaign pledged to "change the world."

Little did Evan realize how that would come to fruition, when he's summoned by God the Almighty himself (played by Morgan Freeman), who has handed Evan the task of building a new ark, much as Noah did before.

Evan would prefer to get his feet established as a Congressman first, including working on a major bill with Congressman Long (John Goodman).

Even with his support staff of secretary Rita (Wanda Sykes), Marty (John Michael Higgins) and Eugene (Jonah Hill), Evan finds it difficult to focus on his political career when God's work begins to make its presence known.

Animal sets of two begin to pester Evan, along with subtle hints of Genesis 6:14, which begin to wear on him. Sooner or later, Evan and his family begin doing God's work in building the ark, not knowing what will happen once it's finished.

While I'll admit that I didn't have holy hopes for "Evan Almighty" from seeing the early trailers, I actually found the film to be quite amusing. It was nice that the film began in the familiar TV station where Evan was totally humiliated in "Bruce Almighty."

I wasn't sure how Carell and Freeman would interact, but they did a great job in getting the message out.

Granted there are some scenes that are way over the top, but they don't totally insult the viewer. Carell constantly shaving his face only to have the beard reappear seconds later, along with his constant falling while building the ark - humorous but not knee-slapping.

The writers allowed Sykes and Higgins to have some funny lines as well, and it seems like every movie I see this year, Hill is in it in some form or fashion. Plus you can never go wrong with having Graham in a film, as she makes a great comedic foil for Carell to bounce off of.

However, Goodman as the corrupt Congressman is wasted in this film. He does better work dancing during the closing credits, which helps you remember how funny he can really be.

While I thought "Evan Almighty" didn't have a prayer at the box office, I'll praise it with three out of four stars.

"Evan Almighty" is rated PG for mild rude humor and some peril. Running time is 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Last week's No. 1, 20th Century Fox' "Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer" slid to No. 3 with $20.2 million - its ten-day total closing in on the $100 mark with $97.6 million.

Warner Bros.' "Ocean's Thirteen" dropped to No. 4 with $11.3 million while making a run at $100 million also with $91 million in three weeks.

Universal Pictures' "Knocked Up" is still delivering laughs in the top five with $10.6 million. The pregnancy comedy has cradled $108.9 million over the past month.

Buena Vista Pictures' "Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End" walked two planks from No. 4 to No. 6 with $7.2 million. Its five-week tally has garnered $287 million.

Sony Pictures' "Surf's Up" is still riding along the curl despite going from No. 5 to No. 7 with $6.7 million - a total of $47.3 million in three weeks.

Clearing the $300 million perch is DreamWorks' "Shrek The Third" with an eighth place setting and adding $5.7 million to its six-week run of $307.9 million.

For more information and show times, contact Regal Cinemas Marketplace 24, 180 Mill Road, Oaks, at 610-666-6697.

Dennis J. Wright can be reached at dwright@phoenixvillenews.com.

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