Reviews and Problems with The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
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The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
18 October 2013
Excerpt: There are some movies that I look forward to, others that I wonder what happened to and then others that somewhat surprise me. I’d seen some trailers for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and I’m a fan of Steve Carell in passing, though there are others out there that I find far more amusing. Certainly his work on TV’s The Office is worth note, though I think his best role (and one that he’ll reprise very soon) was as Brick in Anchorman .
Excerpt: As a kid, Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) was constantly picked on until he discovered the wonders of magic. Decades later, he's a professional magician performing in Las Vegas with his long-time friend and magic partner Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi), having hit the big time with a rotating series of assistants.
Excerpt: In Martin Scorsese's exquisite Hugo , the mechanics of illusion are rightly depicted as the first steps toward the mechanics of the cinema, making for a heady and genuinely heartwarming study of the very real work of movie magic. The role of the illusionist as performer offers a spectacular metaphor for ambitious, unleashed artistry, and the archetype has been vibrantly utilized on film by Ingmar Bergman, Edmund Goulding, Christopher Nolan, and Frank Tashlin.
Excerpt: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone begins with a flashback to young Burt getting a magic kit for his birthday, a huge box packed with colorful props and the promise of secrets to amaze an admiring audience. I never owned a magic set like that when I was a kid, but I sure wanted one. I loved everything about magic except the discipline required to actually perform the tricks.
Excerpt: The Film The Incredible Burt Wonderstone should be funny enough to make your face hurt. It's got a stellar cast, which includes Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Olivia Wilde, Steve Buscemi, Alan Arkin and James Gandolfini. Also, it has writers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein trying to work in the same magic that they used on the 2011 hit Horrible Bosses .
Summary: I’m often asked for the recipe to my meatballs. I don’t want to brag, but they appear to be a hit each time I’ve made them. It’s amazing the amount of trouble they can get me out of here at home. I’m sure Scardino is likely fielding a ton of similar questions on the road promoting the film. But Scardino, Burt, Anton and I all share one thing in common : “a magician never tells his secrets”.
Conclusion: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is quite average as far as comedies go, but a little better than its off-putting marketing campaign and scarcely-attended theatrical run suggest. It's the type of movie most likely to delight the casual moviegoer unaware of or unbothered by its formulas.
Conclusion: Given the cast and the plot, 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone' had the potential to amaze and astound audiences with the magic of comedy. Instead, director Don Scardino delivers a less-than-average endurance stunt without a significant payoff, becoming an embarrassing blemish on the resumes of otherwise good actors. The Blu-ray arrives with a good video transfer but a disappointing audio presentation.
Excerpt: Jay Mohr is funny, a sidetracked street magician with a sub-par career as Rick the Implausible. His performance reigns in Burt Wonderstone; he is in the movie for five minutes, and its highlight. This is going to sting. Led by comedic titans in Steve Carrell, Jim Carrey, and Steve Buscemi (?), Wonderstone is a film of disconnects, jarringly swapping focus to detail mishaps of a tired Burt (Carrell), and shock artist Steve the Gray (Carrey).
Summary: Sleight of hand. Surprise. Laughter. Wonder. Applause. The joy of an enraptured audience. Magic and comedy are forged of the same coveted stuff, and should -- should -- have been a match made in genre heaven, particularly in a flashbang, Vegas Strip send-up starring Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Steve Buscemi and Alan Arkin.