Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls. Presenting a film that will possibly bomb even though this magical act generates a lot of laughs and the right comeback for Jim Carrey. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone has quite a silly and ridiculous setup, but thanks to the game cast, cool magic tricks, and bringing the heart, it makes this definitely an act meant for Vegas.
Steve Carell and Jim Carrey are rival magicians. One that believes in the fictional illusion of magic and one that believes in pain as magic in itself. AKA Criss Angel. Carell’s Wonderstone is a jerk right from the start that believes he can do no wrong even though his Vegas act is the same thing over and over. He comes up with a smart balance of straight laced and crazy, nailing each scene with his comedic reactions ranging from his eyebrows raising to his reaction to being at the bottom working in a retirement center. Carrey’s Steve Grey has a way of making us ooo and ahh but also having a What the Hell is He Doing reaction. He channels Criss Angel from his physical presence to the “creativity” of his tricks. However, it’s good to see Carrey back in comedic form again so that even when he’s crazy, you sit there smiling and remembering how truly talented he is.
The biggest issue I had with The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is the underutilization of the supporting cast. Olivia Wilde has shown in the past that not only is she a beautiful woman but she can act on the levels of Carell and Carrey. She was the assistant to Wonderstone’s show and also makes a good love interest, but I wanted more magic involving her, especially when her character, Jane, wants to be a magician. Shame on Director Don Scardino for pulling the framework away from Alan Arkin. Playing Rance Holloway, the inspirational magician that motivated Wonderstone’s magical dream at a young age, Arkin steals every scene he’s in, even if it’s only a few. He spouts off one-liners and insults left and right, but also showing his passion for his craft. I wanted more Rance and less cameos, I’m talking to you Jay Mohr. Mohr, say this with me: You are not funny, you’re the equivalent of Will Forte from Saturday Night Live. Unfunny. Sad that Steve Buscemi’s Anton was nothing more than an extended cameo either, he has some good moments as Wonderstone’s partner.
“You do realize I’m more than a pretty face.”
While this does generate a lot of laughs, it at times fails to meet its expectations. The story is just dumb. It’s about a magician making a comeback; it’s like a TV pilot that Warner Bros thought it could drape with an all star cast. While some of the magic tricks are cool, I did feel manipulated by some of them. The big fallout was just a failure involving a Hot Box lifted by a crane. Thank goodness that they found the heart in time to give us reason to laugh and cheer on Wonderstone’s comeback.
Check it out if you want to see a Bruce Almighty reunion involving Carrey, Carell and a supporting cast that brings heart to a ridiculous premise. Be entertained at true magic tricks and the satirical teasing that Carrey uses on Criss Angel. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is not quite incredible, but it’s a pleasurable diversion in the early months of 2013.
Take a Drink: whenever you hear “It’s Jane”
Shotgun a Beer: every time Jim Carrey does his street magic
Do a Shot: every time you hear the song Abracadbra
Grab a 32 oz: when you see magic between Burt and Jane. 😉