The Incredible Burt Wonderstone had its world premiere at SXSW and gave audiences a heartfelt (if predictable) tale about two friends and their struggle to adapt to the times. Jim Carrey, Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi hilariously and absurdly take us through a fun story about magicians and the changing world we live in.
Burt Wonderstone was an unhappy child until he discovered the world of magic. He quickly became a magician along with friend
Anton Marvelton and they created the best act on the Vegas strip for entrepreneur and hotel owner Doug Munny (James Gandolfini). They smashed onto the scene, delighting families, children and casino loving tourists every night. But it is now years later and while they have grown older, their act has stayed the same down to the ridiculous costumes they wear each night. Both Anton and Burt are living the high life of fancy clothes, women and, in Burt’s case, the biggest bed in Vegas. However, the one thing that becomes absent from their lives is the friendship that brought them and magic together in the first place. Night after night, they repeat the empty words about their “magical friendship” while off stage they secretly hate each other. When street musician Steve Gray (Carrey) enters the scene, he thrills the crowds (and Burt and Anton’s former audience). Doug challenges the duo to reinvent their performance but things go awry and they end up with nothing. Fortunately, Jane (Olivia Wilde) is still willing to befriend Wonderstone and takes pity on him in a weakend state. What follows is a typical story of friends growing apart and coming back together with a little extra magic thrown in.
As you would expect, the highlight of the film is the comedy. Carrey plays a truly over the top character who sleeps on hot coals, gets pepper sprayed in the face and slices open his cheek. Carell and Buscemi are equally funny and make a fine team, playing off each other in all phases of their relationship. Magicians create an unusual setting and some of the tricks required actual slight of hand so Carell and Buscemi had to learn it the old fashioned way. Carrey thought of his character as the next addition to Criss Angel or David Blaine and went beyond them into absurdity. Of course, Olivia Wilde and Alan Arkin (as Rance Holloway) add to the mix. The cast brings about the laughs you would expect. The climax, while certainly foreseeable, is nonetheless satisfying and laugh out loud funny.
The Verdict: While nothing that will blow anyone away, Wonderstone is a funny comedy in a somewhat unique setting that will deliver laughs as expected.
Opens: March, 15 2013
Director: Don Scardino
Cast: Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, with Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini, and Jim Carrey