There have been a good number of comedies made about God. It's sort of strange if you think about it. You wouldn't think that an all powerful diety would be used for comic effect that often, but he has been. There was the Oh, God series of films, Bruce Almighty, and Dogma just to name a few. You can add God is Brazilian to that list too. This film made in Brazil (naturally) has God looking for his replacement, someone to take over for him while he takes a needed vacation. While the movie has few laugh-out-loud moments, it is rather amusing.
Edivaltércio Barbosa da Anunciaço is a young slacker who doesn't have much ambition in life. One day while drifting in a boat (and hiding from a loan shark that he owes money to,) Edivaltércio meets an odd old man. The man is standing on a the top of the mast of a sunken ship that is sticking out of the water. He's not wet, and there's no boat around, so it's a mystery how he got there. The old man asks to be taken to a village some distance away. A little humored by this man's presumption, Edivaltércio introduces himself, and the man reciprocates and announces that he is actually God. After a few flourishes on the Almighty's part, Edivaltércio becomes convinced that the old man is who he claims to be, and they set off.
It turns out that God needs a break. He created the heavens and the world, populated it with the flora, fauna and man, and gave humans free will. He thinks they've made a mess of things, and just wants to spend some time away from it all. So he's looking for a saint to take over for him while he goes on holiday. The person he has in mind is Quinca, the Muler. This Brazilian has everything it takes to be a good substutute for God, they just have to find him.
You see God doesn't like to preform miracles. If you break the laws of physics in one place, you have to adjust things in other places too so that things are balanced. It's a lot of work, much more trouble than it's worth. So he has to track down Quinca on his own. Edivaltércio, for his part, decides that there are worse ways of spending your time than helping out God, so he tags along and tries to keep the Lord, who isn't too sure about a lot of aspects of modern life, from getting into trouble.
Everytime they think that they've tracked Quinca down, it turns out that they've just missed him, and he's gone on to help some other group of disadvantaged people. As they are tracking Quinca down, they meet an attractive young lady named Mada, who joins their group to get away from her abusive father. Without any money, Edivaltércio, Mada, and God find themselves traveling across Brazil in search of the saintly Quinca.
This is really a road film with God as one of the participants of the journey. As such, there are several stories that get told along the way. These stories are all amusing and entertaining, even if they aren't outrageously funny. This isn't an over-the-top comedy like Bruce Almighty, it's a more gentle comedy that is nevertheless entertaining.
The humor of the movie derives mainly from the interaction of the conniving and world wise Edivaltércio and the seemingly naive God. Edivaltércio's constant thoughts of food and money are in sharp contrast to God's concerns, since he sees no need for either. As such, the movie doesn't offer any belly laughs, but there are several scenes that you'll find yourself smiling at.
The film does make some comments on the human condition of course, but it isn't preachy. The main message is that man has free will and we have the resources to make life wonderful, but we choose not to. This isn't anything terribly original or profound, but it makes a nice backdrop for this light comedy. One aspect of the movie that I did find interesting was the effect that Qunica had on those he tried to help. When all was said and done, he didn't really help anyone even though he was selflessly devoting his life to others. He sold all of his mules and gave the money to the poor, who spent it on booze and had a big party. He helped build a dam to irrigate farmland that was suffering from a drought. After it was completed the rich land owners kicked the peasants off the land since it was now profitable to farm it. An interesting take on the old adage "no good dead goes unpunished."
The best part of the film was the scenery. The cinematography was absolutely beautiful. You usually don't associate comedies with stunning images, but this film was filled with gorgeous images of the Brazilian landscape. The widescreen images of huge waterfalls and deep blue seas were absolutely breathtaking, and well worth watching this film for.
This film had both 5.1 and stereo soundtracks, both in Portugese. I viewed the film with the Dolby Digital track and spot checked the stereo one. They both sounded very good, but the 5.1 track was more full. That soundtrack also made very good use of the soundstage, putting bird calls in the rear, and having the music that filled the film seem to come from everywhere. I was surprised at how much the dedicated subwoofer channel was used too, giving the music a bit of punch. There was one instance of distortion that I noticed (when Edivaltércio is calling for God after the bus breaks down) but otherwise the soundtrack was superb.
The video is letterboxed to 2.35:1, but it is not anamorphically enhanced, which is too bad because otherwise the movie looked wonderful. The Brazilian countryside was reproduced wonderfully with brilliant blue skies, lush green forests, and beautifully yellow sandy beaches. The colors were really very vivid. The image was sharp and there wasn't any digital defects worth noting. They loose some points for not making the disc anamorphic, but otherwise the picture was excellent.
In addition to a trailer for the film there is a 26 minute long "making of" featurette. This looks at the genesis of the film, the locations and the filming. The director, writer and stars are all interviewed along with several other people involved with the production.
This was an amusing comedy, though not a laugh riot. This road trip film with God and two acquaintances looking for the only saint in Brazil has some good moments, just nothing outrageously funny. You will find yourself smiling at some of the situations that God and Edivaltércio find themselves in though. This, along with the beautiful scenery and cinematography make this a film worth watching. Recommended.