“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” is Hollywood’s latest magician movie. It’s been a while since we were wowed by “The Prestige” and “The Illusionist,” so apparently director Jay Roach wanted to get a new take on magicians. Unlike the aforementioned 2006 films, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” is intended as a comedy. To that end, it has billed both Steve Carell and Jim Carrey, two of the bigger names in comedy. It also stars Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, and Alan Arkin.
The central character in the story is Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) one-half of a famous duo of stage magicians in Las Vegas. His partner is Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi). Together they make one of the biggest acts in Vegas. At least, in the beginning. But then, sales start to decline. An up and coming unorthodox magician by the name of Steve Grey (Jim Carrey) a.k.a. “The Brain Rapist” is threatening to capsize their operation. They have to come up with a new act, and fast. But their first idea is a disaster. So much so, they wind up dissolving their partnership. From there, the story follows Burt Wonderstone and his decline into desperation, the subsequent reshaping of his character, and his eventual reunion with Anton Marvelton leading to their collaboration on the greatest trick in magical history. There is also a love-interest angle in the story, a young assistant illusionist named Jane (Olivia Wilde), but I won’t delve into that here as it follows pretty much the standard patterns.
Strengths: the movie successfully showed the evolution of Burt Wonderstone’s character from self-centered, egotistical, schmuck to a reasonably decent human being who even wins the girl in the end. It was also good for a few laughs. Jim Carrey had some classic moments, particularly at the end. Weaknesses: well, although the movie was billed as a comedy and it had access to the talents of both Carrey and Carell, it wasn’t quite as funny as I hoped it would be. Like I said, there were a few moments, but not enough, in my opinion. Also, Burt Wonderstone started off as such a jerk, I didn’t think he deserved to win the girl (not that he had any competitors) in the movie. It was just silly Hollywood being stupid following the standard: boy meets girl, boy is jerk, girl is repulsed, boy reforms, and girl falls in love. Whatever.
Although the movie was decent, there were no great moments. Nothing that had me laughing to tears. Overall, I’ll give it three and a half out of five stars.