Synopsis: Superstar magicians Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) have ruled the Las Vegas Strip for years, raking in millions with illusions as big as Burt’s growing ego. But lately the duo’s greatest deception is their public friendship, while secretly they’ve grown to loathe each other. Facing cutthroat competition from guerrilla street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), whose cult following surges with each outrageous stunt, even their show is starting to look stale. But there’s still a chance Burt and Anton can save the act-both onstage and off-if only Burt can get back in touch with what made him love magic in the first place.
Release Date: March 15, 2013 MPAA Rating: PG-13
The great comedy everyone has been waiting for starring Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, and Steve Buschemi has yet to be written, directed, or acted in because its not The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. It is a sad truth to admit but alas it is the truth. The comedy gold this trio of comedians seemed destined to deliver has fallen short of expectations; so short in fact that it becomes sad to watch as the minutes tick by to see such talent wasted.
Steve Carell and Steve Buschemi are Burt Wonderstone and Anton, respectively, a team of magicians who met when they were kids because of their mutual love for magic. It didn’t hurt that they were both teased and bullied and without any other friends. Decades have passed and they now have their very own stage show at one of the biggest Casinos in Las Vegas, Bally’s. Granted, using Bally’s does sound dated but it works nonetheless. After ten years at Bally’s performing the same show every night for a packed house things are changing in the world of magic and magicians all thanks to street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey). Gray isn’t so much a magician as a sadomasochist extremist who performs body mutilating stunts, disgusting acts, and anything else that will get the attention of his cable-show viewers. He is the new competition and given that Wonderstone and Anton are on bad terms as friends and magic partners, plus their show is dated, it does not take long to see where The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is going…nowhere new. The movie may be about magicians but the story is as old as time. A successful man loses everything and has to find his way back to his roots, let go of his selfish behavior and make amends. That does not necessarily make for a bad film; formula works in most genres. What The Incredible Burt Wonderstone does not manage to do is keep the laughter flowing during Wonderstone’s fall from grace and subsequent return to the spotlight. Unless watching Steve Carell cry that his motel room is so small incites rabid giggles in you your going to be disappointed. Even Jim Carrey cannot save the day as his antics are more pathetic to watch and seen as desperate displays for attention than comedic. The disappointments just keep coming with The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.
You want to give the cast and crew the benefit of the doubt with The Incredible Burt Wonderstone; believe that there is a light at the end of the movie tunnel that will make up for the incredibly boring movie they have put before you. The climax may have a couple adequate jokes and a performance by Jim Carrey that is sure to make you gasp, yet it does nothing to redeem the film as a whole. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is not sloppy filmmaking, or lacking in talent, or riddled with production flaws. It fails at meeting expectations because at its ultimate core, the only thing it had to achieve, was to make the viewer laugh-out-loud until their belly hurt–and that it does not do.
We should be very concerned with the state of comedy in the modern movie world if the likes of Steve Carell, Steve Buschemi, and Jim Carrey cannot manage to make a laugh-out-loud comedic picture. Especially when they are all present in the same film. Such is the case with The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, a movie that should be hilarious, memorable, and finally give Jim Carrey his much needed comeback moment to adult-centered comedy. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone does not do any of these very talented comedians justice, and in case you may not realize Steve Buschemi can be hilarious–watch Con Air, Armageddon, Fargo, or The Big Lebowski as proof to this fact. While The Incredible Burt Wonderstone does offer moments of brief comedic interludes the majority of the film is uninspired and unimaginative. Jim Carrey almost returns to his early stand-up days and career-making moves as a physical comedy genius but here, even with his toned abs and Fabio-esque hairstyle, he just can’t manage to get the laugh–it does not help that his magic is more of a testimony to how much mutilation you can put your body through. It’s an obvious attempt to make fun of modern magicians, or illusionists/endurance artists such as David Blaine. Urine, hot coals, slicing a cheek open, or harming a puppy are part of his repertoire of tricks; all of which are not funny even in the slightest.
As for Carell’s Burt Wonderstone and Steve Buschemi’s Anton, they manage to suck all of the comedy out of their already lifeless characters. The magic show they have been doing for ten years may bring a chuckle to the viewer when they open with the song “Abracadabra” and do a dated dance routine together that borders on the homoerotic as they discuss their very special friendship. The Siegfried and Roy joke is not lost on the viewer, its simply not very funny the first time, nor the second, or third. The wigs and velvet costumes Carell dons are funny, only because a mullet is never not funny on a grown man, same goes for flashy velvet. When it comes to the time where they are meant to make us laugh they should be able to do so easily and without much work. But Carrell and Buschemi look like they are trying VERY hard to get the laughs, and even they know what they are saying and doing isn’t going to do it. As for Olivia Wilde, she may as well be replaced by a piece of wood because there is nothing funny, engaging, or remotely likable about her character or performance–I fear her box office poison trend may continue.
The surprising thing about The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is not that its three stars don’t supply ample amounts of humor. It is that the supporting actors do, minus Wilde. James Gandolfini’s Doug Munny is quite funny as the boss of Wonderstone and Anton who owns the Bally Hotel where they perform. He’s building a new hotel called DOUG, and to hear him speak about it will make you laugh. As will his description of the fine steakhouse Bally’s has for its guests. At the magicians bar you will find Rick The Implausible, played by Jay Mohr in possibly the funniest role he has ever had. Mohr is actually memorable, even if he only appears briefly. The final positive bout of humor comes from Alan Arkin as the aging magician Rance Holloway. From the beginning of the film in his how-to video on becoming a magician to the grand finale when he makes an unexpected and riotous appearance, Alan Arkin hits the right beats. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone has an amazing cast who all have great comedic talents–they just happen to be in the wrong movie.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Don Scardino
- Screenwriter(s): Jonathan M. GoldsteinJohn Francis Daley
- Cast: Steve Carell (Burt Wonderstone) Steve Buschemi (Anton Marvelton)Olivia Wilde (Jane)Jim Carrey (Steve Gray)James Gandolfini (Doug Munny)Alan Arkin (Rance Holloway)Jay Mohr (Rick the Implausible)
- Cinematographer: Matthew Clark
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Lyle Workman
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA