'Bruce' sets God's number ringing
WASHINGTON (RNS)–More than 30 homes and businesses across the country have been taking calls for God after a new film used a real-life phone number for the Almighty.
In the movie “Bruce Almighty,” Jim Carrey plays TV news reporter Bruce Nolan, who temporarily receives God's powers. When the character of God tries to reach Nolan, God's phone number is displayed repeatedly on Nolan's pager.
But instead of the bogus 555 prefix usually used in movies and television shows, the seven-digit number that appears in “Bruce Almighty” is a working number in many areas of the country–and droves of pranksters and seeking souls have been dialing it up.
According to the Associated Press, a woman in Pinellas Park, Fla., is threatening to sue the movie studio over the 20 calls per hour she has been getting on her cell phone.
Calls for God also are reaching a Denver radio network–which is planning a contest based on the incident–and residences in Arkansas, Florida and South Carolina, among other states.
The Augustin family of Parrish, Fla., has received hundreds of calls and is amused by the mix-up. Their answering machine tells callers they have reached “God's messenger” and they should “call Jim Carrey” instead.
In a few area codes, the listings actually belong to places of worship.
“I'm not too thrilled with it at all,” said Bruce MacInnes, pastor of Turner's Chapel Church in Sanford, N.C., who thinks the movie “mocks God and makes a mockery of religion.”
Still, MacInnes said, “the Lord God is one that could use something that's meant for evil and turn it for good. So this may very well be the reason that that number showed up.”
For the studio's part, Universal Pictures said in a statement the phone number was selected for God because it does not exist in the Buffalo, N.Y., area where the movie is set.