NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by Jackie Funshine.
Taking off a few years, (we assume) or so from where “Bruce Almighty” left off, “Evan Almighty” begins with the news station announcing the departure of its former anchorman, Evan Baxter. We are shown a brief video chronicling Evan’s campaign. He’s a picture-perfect politician, making promises to “change the world”, and playing with small children. Evan sheds a tear as the video ends.
Unfortunately, Evan’s campaign attitude does not carry over into his personal life. Although he has been blessed with a lovely wife and three sons, he has let his job take over everything. In order to take on his position as a congressman, Evan is moving his entire family from their home in Buffalo. His kids are not pleased, but they put up with it because Evan just got a great new car. He proudly boasts its many features while the kids watch Animal Planet in the backseat. The camera pulls back to show us that Evan is driving the gas-guzzling Hummer.
Evan pulls into a lovely neighborhood, aptly named Prestige Crest (or something like that). As he pulls into the driveway of a beautiful new house, the entire family gasps. His sons forget all their previous grievances and happily run into the gorgeous building. Even Evan’s wife is satisfied. As they’re admiring their new home, a construction worker stops by to ask Evan about what type of wood he would like to use for their kitchen cabinets. He shows Evan two samples, one of which is a rare rainforest wood over 300 years old. He tells Evan that if he’s not much of a environmentalist, nothing beats the rainforest wood. Evan, clearly not a tree-hugger, happily chooses to adorn his home in the rainforest wood.
Evan does a strange little dance to celebrate his new home before walking out into their yard, where a stray dog is playing with the kids. Evan tries to shoo the dog away, but his kids insist on giving it some water. When Evan dumps the water out, the dog bites his crotch, much to the amusement of his kids. Later than night, as Evan and his wife are getting into bed, Evan’s wife, Joan, tells him that their son had the craziest idea before going to sleep he wanted to pray together. Joan tells Evan that the kids prayed for a dog, of course, but she prayed that they would become closer as a family. She asks Evan what he would pray for and Evan just shrugs it off, saying that he’s not much of a prayer man. Before they go to sleep, Joan tells Evan that he’s made some pretty big promises on his campaign and that if she were him, she’d take all the help she could get. Evan can’t quite go to sleep, so in the middle of the night, he gets on his knees and prays to God to help him change the world.
The next morning, Evan’s alarm clock wakes him up at exactly 6:14. He finds it strange since he set the alarm for 7:00, but grudgingly gets up anyway. He goes downstairs only to find a huge box waiting for them outside. It is addressed to Evan, but when he opens it, he only finds a set of ancient building tools. He looks on the box again and sees that it is addressed to 614, whereas his address is 416. Evan decides to ignore the box. Evan is dressed for success and every bit of the congressman, but once again, he has forgotten his family. His wife reminds him that he promised to go hiking with the kids tomorrow, and Evan cheerfully complies.
Evan goes to work without a complaint, but he notices that animals have been starting to follow him around in pairs. He shrugs it off and shoos them away. He doesn’t have time for such trivial matters now that he’s a big shot in the office. Evan is given a beautiful office, and we learn that it is because he has connections to the chairperson, Congressman Long. In fact, the two are neighbors. Evan’s secretary, Rita, is sarcastic and sharp, but she clearly has his back. When another assistant, Marty, introduces Evan to the staff, Evan is introduced to an overly enthusiastic new guy named Eugene. Eugene is clearly trying to gain Evan’s approval, but only succeeds in scaring him off. Marty tells Evan that Congressman Long is awaiting his approval for a new bill that will take formerly government protected lands and make them available to the public. Evan is eager to please and agrees. He doesn’t think the bill will have much affect on him until Eugene brings over a huge stack of papers for Evan to read. Evan tells them that he promised to take the kids out for a hike, but Marty insists that this is a more important matter. We see Evan going home with the stack of his papers while his wife and kids walk off disappointed.
The next morning, Evan’s alarm clock goes off at 6:14 yet again, so he pulls the plug out. Evan goes downstairs, where another delivery is waiting for him. This time, it’s a huge stack of wood. Evan tells the delivery man that they have the wrong address, but the man tells him that he’s not the one in charge. Evan goes inside and has an epiphany while his son is watching television. A protest is going on and one of the people is holding up a huge sign that says Genesis 6:14. Evan runs back to his room and realizes that the paint has been scratched off his alarm clock so it reads GEN 6:14. Evan realizes the significance in this and digs out the family bible. Genesis 6:14 chronicles the building of the ark. Evan notices that it mentions the use of gopher wood, so he runs back outside and looks at the delivery receipt. Sure enough, there is a picture of a huge gopher on the paper. Suddenly, God is standing next to Evan. Evan is surprised and asks who the man is. God tells Evan that he prayed for power to change the world. Evan tells him that he doesn’t know where to start. God starts to dust off a flat flowerpot and puts it on the ground. As the pot fills with water, he tells Evan that a lot of people want to change the world but don’t know where to start. The answer, he says, is that changing the world starts with one act of random kindness. When God tells Evan that he must build the ark, Evan shrugs it off and goes to work. Unfortunately, God is not going to give up so easily. He makes flocks of birds chase Evan all the way to the office and finally they fly in through a window, just as a group of congressional representatives comes into the office. Evan manages to get away with the strange display, but not without a disapproving look from Congressman Long.
When Evan returns home, he finds that God is waiting for him yet again. God shows Evan a vast forest. When Evan asks where they are, God laughs and realizes that Evan does not know that his new home was once a beautiful valley. Evan is much more convinced and later that night, he researches the story of Noah. He finds that there are several strange similarities between his family and Noah’s. His wife comes in to talk to Evan, and Evan is forced to brush the story out of his mind. She wants them to be closer as a family and that’s going to take some effort on his part if he wants things to work out. Evan agrees and decides to start anew. The next day, however, he wakes up with a strange beard that he can’t seem to get rid of. Once he shaves it off, it grows back on. The family is disturbed, but not as disturbed as his coworkers are. As Evan’s beard grows, it becomes clear to him that God is trying to send him a message. The message becomes clearer when the family’s real estate agent, Eve, runs to their house with a bottle of champagne. When Evan asks her what the occasion is, she tells him he bought 8 other lots earlier that day. Evan is shocked, and his wife is furious. They clearly can’t afford to own all that land, but Evan has no explanation for it. He decides to start building the ark. He gets the boys to join in and although Evan gets hurt many, many times, he is satisfied with what they have accomplished. He tries to get the boys to join in on his dance, but even they feel that it is far too embarrassing.
Joan, however, is getting tired of this whole charade. Evan’s hair is getting wilder and wilder, and his ark is getting more and more ridiculous. She tells Evan that this has to stop and he agrees. God remains persistent, however, and he presents Evan with a thick robe to go with the hair and beard. Evan tries to wear other clothes, but after a strange run-in with a postal worker, he realizes that only the robe will stay on. He decides to wear his business clothes over his robe and goes off to work. Meanwhile, the bill is just about ready to be passed; it just needs Evan to be there to sign it officially. Evan tells his assistants that he can’t because he looks ridiculous right now, but they make him do it anyway. When it’s time for Evan to stand up, everyone is shocked, including Evan. Somehow, his carefully planned outfit has ended up on the table and he is once again dressed in his robe. When Congressman Long asks him why he’s in the robe, Evan can only reply that God is instructing him to build the ark. Evan is forcibly removed from the building and Joan watches in horror and shame. When Evan returns home, Joan and the kids have already packed their things. She feels that the ark has ruined their family and she can’t stand it any longer, so they have to leave. Just then, it begins raining outside and Evan shouts to his family to wait. When they walk outside, however, they realize that it was only the sprinklers. This only further convinces Joan of Evan’s insanity.
Although Evan mourns his family’s departure, he knows that he cannot put the ark off any longer. God had spoken to him through a weather forecast that the flood would occur on September 22 midday, so he has to get to work. Meanwhile, the media is captivated by Evan’s story. They’ve begun to call him “New York’s Noah” and even Jon Stewart is poking fun at the former newscaster. Evan’s family is watching in some obscure countryside bar and his kids hate watching their father being mocked. Joan sits in quiet contemplation just as God, disguised as a waiter named “Al Mighty”, walks over and talks to her about Evan. She tells him that she really does love Evan, but what is she supposed to do when he starts telling everyone that God is talking to him? God tells her that when people pray for patience, God does not give them patience, but rather, an opportunity to BE patient. Similarly, when they pray for the family to become closer, he does not insert sudden feelings of warmth and happiness, rather, he gives them to OPPORTUNITY to stick together as a family. He then tells her that when Noah’s family had to build the ark, they all stood together, as a family full of faith. He then tells her to enjoy her food and when Joan looks down, she realizes that her plate has been filled without the waiter ever having to stand.
Joan takes the kids home and they work on the ark some more with Evan, who is now sporting a long white beard and matching hair. The kids are happy to help and they admit that they like him better now that he can actually spend time with them. Evan’s coworkers drop by to tell him that they only have until September 22 to take down the ark or else the city will take it down for them. Onlookers are weary and often mock the family, but it isn’t long before the ark is nearly finished. The family admires their handiwork as the crowd continues to mock them. Congressman Long arrives with bulldozers to take down the strange boat while Evan’s assistants remind him that Congressman Long is determined to get the bill passed, even if it means taking Evan out of office. After all, Long is famous for cutting corners and skimping on laws, especially the one it took to get Long Lake (clearly named after him) created. Suddenly, storm clouds begin hovering over the city. Evan is relieved that the flood is finally happening and tries to convince everyone to get on the ark, but no one is moved. Strangely enough, the rain soon stops and the people are back to mocking the family.
Joan tells Evan that perhaps God only meant a figurative sort of flood. After all, they did build an ark, and their family did become closer. Evan is unconvinced, but he decides to disembark with the rest of his family. They’ve agreed to stick with him no matter what and Evan realizes that he’s happy enough with that. Suddenly, he hears a deep rumbling. Evan remembers Long Lake. The dam was not built with enough stability to hold in all that water and is clearly about to collapse. He urges his neighbors to get on, but they stubbornly wait until the dam has crashed. As the entire neighborhood is washed away by the lake, Evan’s neighbors regret making fun of him so much and gladly accept his kindness.
The ark is swept all the way to Evan’s office, where the bill is about to be passed. As everyone flees from the huge boat, Congressman Long realizes that no one is going to pass the bill now. The skies are now clear, but for Long, the trouble has just begun. With Evan bringing a new voice to the problem, the city is going to investigate Long and his actions over the past few years.
Finally, we see Evan taking that hike he promised to the kids. The family has adopted the stray dog from the beginning of the movie and Evan is accepting it as one of his own. Evan sees God lingering by a tree and he walks over to see. God encourages Evan to do his little dance and they look ridiculous, but happy. God tells Evan that he finally did it he finally changed the world. Evan, once so boastful and proud, is now humble. He’s glad he did the right thing. God points out that their Act of Random Kindness (ARK) was really all it took. We then see the family running happily over the fields, which thanks to the water from the flood, are now restored in all of its former glory.
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