A star filled cast, an interesting plot and a feel-good message – what could go wrong? Apparently, a lot can.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, directed by Don Scardino, stars Steve Carell as the title character, who is an old-school Vegas magician and fading celebrity. Wonderstone and his partner Anton Marvelton, played by Steve Buscemi, have been performing the same act at the same hotel for years, while remaining completely oblivious to the changes in their field. Jim Carrey plays Steve Gray, and up-and-coming street magician and obvious spoof of Criss Angel. Gray has been steadily putting magicians like Wonderstone out of business with his televised stunts and grotesque tricks. Now, Wonderstone has to save his act, partnership and rediscover his passion for magic, or fade into obscurity.
On paper, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone sounds like a great idea. Huge talents like Carell and Carrey playing outlandish magicians should deliver huge laughs to their audience, but the movie never reaches its full potential.
The script is predictable, and the jokes can be seen coming a mile away. The characters are nothing that moviegoers haven’t seen before, and the plot tends to drag, especially in the second act. Fans of comedy will find most of the film boring, which is the last thing a movie like this should be.
The film’s redeeming factor is the dedication of its actors. Seeing Carrey back doing what made him a star was refreshing and nostalgic. Fans of his earlier work will enjoy the character he creates. Carell, despite his best efforts, never engages the audience like he should. It’s hard to root for a character that is so unlikeable for most of the film. However, Carell saves the movie from being a total wreck.
On top of the poor writing, the movie is filled with lame editing tricks. At times, it felt like the filmmakers were trying to distract the audience from their lack of content.
Another problem was the occasional shifts from being semi-believable to utterly ridiculous. The movie isn’t sure what kind of comedy it wants to be, so it lacks a unique voice amongst a sea of mediocre comedies.
Throughout the movie, Wonderstone learns to love what he does by doing something new and exciting with his act. Sadly, the filmmakers didn’t listen to their own message. It’s worth seeing if you feel like having a few cheap laughs and a relatively good time, but don’t expect to have your mind blown.
I give this movie 3 out of 5 stars