Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone: Movie Review

Sweet, simple and mildly enjoyable but that doesn't add up to any laughs.

“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” did a wonderful job of casting the dynamic duo of Burt Wonderstone (Stevel Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) and establishing the look and feel for their “magical friendship” and then proceeded to completely destroy any chances for laughter and enjoyment. The very meager plot has Burt Wonderstone attempting to revive his career only to fail miserably. 2013

Directed by: Don Scardino

Screenplay by: Jonathan M. Goldstein, John Francis Daley

Starring: Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin and Jim Carrey

It’s hilariously ironic that the success of the film mirrors Wonderstone’s act. At the beginning, Wonderstone and Marvelton have a cute but unoriginal performance; likewise the film presents decent comedic chemistry between Carell and Buscemi and the unoriginal humour is harmless enough. But Wonderstone and Marvelton’s friendship turns sour, their tricks are lame and nothing is working. Simultaneously, the film’s jokes are stale and the attempts at a plot are not clicking. On the rise is “magician”/masochistic street performer, Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) who becomes famous for being outrageous. But there is nothing outrageous about the film, the characters, the jokes, or the story. It was all just stupid. Carrey's antics are just a shadow of the former comedian he used to be and should not be used as a selling point for this film.

Just like how the incredible Burt Wonderstone thought he could do the show on his own but flounders, Steve Carrell attempts to carry the movie on his own but sinks. He’s funny but Wonderstone isn’t inherently funny and he has no interesting or comedic support. There is nothing about his character to keep the audience invested in his story.

Eventually Wonderstone finds himself where old, not-so-old and not-so-incredible entertainers go to die (an old folks home) and is introduced to his magician idol, Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin). Rance and Burt are going to amaze each other with disappearing people, jewel transformations and re-appearing doves. For the audience, the wonder of magic does not translate to the big screen because movie magic that we've been experiencing for the last hundred years is way more impressive than anything an 8 year-old learns from a VHS tape and cardboard box with cards and ropes.

Carell, Buscemi and Gandolfini are goofy, in a light-hearted enjoyable kind of way, Olivia Wilde even eventually finds her place in the movie, but “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” just isn’t funny. The jokes might be innocent and simple, but the ending isn’t sweet (that’s a lesson in incredulity, lawsuits and ending up in jail), and it just wasn’t funny.


Identity Thief (2013) - Formulaic road trip comedy but the actors make the jokes funny.

Peep World (2010) - A true comedy that you don't have to hold up a mirror for.