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Are You There, God? It’s Me—Adam Sandler

Playing God has never been more popular: Click is just the latest comedy to grant divine powers to a dumb zhlub, while “God games” grant absolute power to any zhlub with a PC. A look at four of the be-a-deity offerings.

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Bruce Almighty (movie)
Divine Premise
Jim Carrey complains about God; God (Morgan Freeman) makes Carrey walk a mile in his sandals.
Holy Power: 2
Sales Power
$484 million worldwide box office.
Divine Interpretation
Carrey plays an emasculated Everyman who seeks some control over his life. But the ultimate sign of soul-crushing suburban life—and Hollywood’s imagination deficit—might be Carrey’s lack of creativity once he gets it. If you had divine abilities, would you really use them just to mow the lawn?


The Sims (game)
Divine Premise
Gamers micro-manage emoticon-chirping characters in virtual burbs.
Holy Power: 1
Sales Power
Best-selling PC game in history, the franchise has moved more than 58 million copies. Divine Interpretation
Like Bruce Almighty, the Sims unleashes godlike powers in the burbs—allowing players to well, redecorate. Carl Goodman of the American Museum of the Moving Image complains: “To play God, you should get to make the rules, but with the Sims, you play by the rules. It’s more about consumerism: ‘If I buy that TV, where should I put it?’ ”


Click (movie)
Divine Premise
Adam Sandler uses a remote control to fast-forward, rewind, and pause life.
Holy Power: 2
Sales Power
Opens June 23.
Divine Interpretation
According to Arthur C. Clarke’s famous dictum, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”—so perhaps it makes sense that this new fantasy is based not on a miracle but on ever more mystifying home electronics. As Louise Krasniewicz, who teaches anthropology of cinema at UPenn, puts it, “Click is about using technology rather than letting it control you.”


Spore (game)
Divine Premise
Upcoming from Sims creator Will Wright, this game begins with a tiny spore that players can use to evolve intelligent life and whole civilizations.
Holy Power: 4
Sales Power
On sale in 2007.
Divine Interpretation
Wright’s new game more than makes up for the limitations of the Sims by allowing players to build life from scratch. It’s not just science, says Goodman: “Spore offers a Darwinian approach to spirituality.” Fundamentalists should love it: Intelligent Design, the Video Game.


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