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STUDIO New Line Home Video
RUNNING TIME 100 minutes
– Deleted Scenes and Alternate Takes
– Making Movie Magic with David Copperfield
– Steve Gray Uncut
– Gag Reel
Steve Carell and Jim Carrey go to war over who is more magical.
Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin
Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvel have been best friends since they were children, when they bonded over a love of magic. Now, they have their very own Las Vegas stage show. That all changes when up and coming street magician Steve Gray threatens not only their lifestyle, but their friendship as well.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is the most disappointing kind of fluff. It’s a film that could have been great (magical, even!) but falls way short of its goals in just about every aspect. It might pass as a serviceable, maybe even above average, made for TV movie, but as a feature film it doesn’t have nearly enough bite to make the premise work.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone stars Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi as Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvel, respectively. The two have been best friends forever whose love of magic has kept them together, all the way to their very own Las Vegas stage show. As time went on, the pairs love for magic has waned, and when the film picks up, their audiences are dwindling to embarrassing numbers.
Attendance is down mainly due to Steve Gray, Jim Carrey, a street magician who stars in a show entitled The Brain Rapist. Gray’s increasing popularity eventually forces Burt and Anton to split up and go their separate ways, which is where the movie gets incredibly predictable and uninteresting and all of the things I feared it would be from the trailers.
I truly like every actor in this movie, which is why it’s such a shame that most of the performances don’t work for me at all. Carell and Buscemi have no chemistry together, and honestly just don’t look like they could have ever been childhood friends. It’s a stretch, but one that I would have gladly gone along with if either character ended up being worth spending time with. Buscemi tries, but he ends up just bouncing off of Carell for most of the flick, whose character is such a huge asshole that I didn’t care about him after about ten minutes. He never gets much better, either, going from a complete asshole to a slightly less obnoxious asshole by the end of the film’s too long running time.
Olivia Wilde and Alan Arkin provide a bit of light to the darkness, as both actors tend to do when showing up in supporting roles. Wilde has recently become one of my favorite actresses, delivering fantastic performances in both Drinking Buddies and Her, and she’s equally charming here. Seriously, she’s the kind of charming that could almost carry a movie like this, but she unfortunately isn’t given enough screen time, and is forced into an awkward romance that certainly doesn’t help things. Thankfully, Alan Arkin is his usual self, meaning he’s hilarious and provides some much needed laughs in this so called comedy.
Finally we have Carrey, who is absolutely without a doubt the best thing about The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. Carrey hasn’t been given a darker, physical-comedy based role like this in some time, and it’s a joy seeing him flex those chops once again. It’s too bad the movie never quite lets him go all out, which is probably due to the film’s PG-13 rating, which is a shame. This might have actually been a great black comedy had it been rated R.
Don Scardino is a veteran TV director, and you can tell, as much of this flick looks like something from 30 Rock. The film ends up bland and boring thanks to how seemingly uninvolved Scardino was in the proceedings. He lets his actors do all the work, which would be find if the characters were strong enough to carry the movie on their own, but sadly they’re not.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’s biggest offense as a comedy is that it just isn’t very funny. Jim Carrey provides a few laughs, and I laughed at how awkward some of the stage performances were, but that was mostly me laughing at the movie rather than with it. It’s a shame, as there are hints of what could have been a very funny film. Perhaps if the rest of the cast had loosened up and had a bit more fun like Wilde and Arkin, the whole thing may have been better. As it is, you’re better off just treating it like a magic trick and watching it disappear.
The movie looks and sounds just fine, though that really isn’t saying much to begin with. Blu-ray certainly isn’t essential if you still want to pick this one up. The special features are slightly above average, featuring some funny alternate line readings and outtakes, as well as a discussion about movie magic and stage magic with David Copperfield, which is as cheesy as it sounds.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars