Abracadabra! Shazam! Oh… well darn, that didn’t make the movie any better, or help me forget it. “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” is an absolute magical nightmare, but still manages to pull a rabbit of entertainment out of its beat up hat.
Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Jim Carrey, James Gandolfini and Alan Arkin star in the film. Now, that certainly sounds like a promising cast, right? Having decent actors doesn’t really mean anything though when it seems as if the script pulled a disappearing act in making sense.
You start off with Burt Wonderstone, played by Carell, and Anton Marvelton, played by Buscemi, who are in high school being ridiculed by bullies for being unpopular. Before Burt meets Anton, his lonesome self arrives home from school on his birthday to an unbaked birthday cake and a gift. After baking his own chocolate birthday cake and writing in icing, “Happy Birthday to Me,” which is kind of sad, he opens his gift.
You aren’t fooling me Hollywood; I saw your magic trick. Burt is given a Rance Holloway magic kit, which he falls in love with. It’s not until the next day in school that Burt meets Anton and shows him a magic trick beginning a “magical friendship” turning into thirty years. Now, for our next trick… oh wait…you saw it coming already?
Performing live in Bally’s in Las Vegas, in front of numerous crowds, The Incredible Burt and Anton shock and awe the audience. Doug Munny, who is played by Gandolfini, is absolutely hilarious as a casino manager. When times become tough, Gandolfini reminds me of how he was in The Sopranos, but very comical. Carell also pulls it off with his genuine technique of being funny no matter if the scene may have been lame.
Carrey, on the other hand, should have been stuck in a box and have swords shoved in it. No illusion either, just a good trick gone terribly wrong. I had hoped that I could perform a magic trick that every time I had face-palmed, Carrey would disappear.
He plays a very uncreative character created to poke fun at David Blaine and Criss Angel, called Steve Gray “The Brain Rapist,” and no, I am not kidding–he’s actually called that. Perfect name though for what he does at the end of the movie; It was the only time I chuckled at Carrey.
In all honesty, the story was interesting and could have held more water if it wasn’t for Carrey’s role. It’s about your typical, unpopular kid in high school who becomes this rich and famous ladies’ man, who hits rock bottom, loses a friendship, earns it back, gets the true warmhearted girl, and defeats the character everyone hates. I would have been happier without all the unnecessary and unfunny toilet humor that Carrey provided.
Carell saved this movie; He performed his magic and then some. Alan Arkin (Rance Holloway) was also hilarious and the beautiful Olivia Wilde (Jane), were what the movie had hidden up its sleeves that helped save the magic.
There are a lot of those, “I totally could have called that,” the “You have got to be kidding me already,” and the “Just stop. Stop it,” type of scenes that occur, but the idea of the story is decent, just not how it was approached.