The Incredible Burt Wonderstone Reviews
Now, this is one of those movies that has a fantastic comedic cast, Steve Carrell, Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey, James Gandolfini, and Jay Mohr, but even then, they aren't given a lot to work with. Carrell is really just an arrogant jerk most of the film which doesn't lead to a lot of jokes that aren't extremely predictable that we haven't seen with this type of character. Carrell does get some real good lines at some points in the movie and some of his actions also do get a few laughs but it leaves more to be desired from such a funny man. Buscemi is really just there for most of the film and I guess the joke with him is that he's just the nice guy that sits in the corner and doesn't get much of a say. Again, this has been done before many times before and done better, and again, like Carrell, gets some good funny lines at times, I just wish that the writers and Buscemi could've brought more jokes to the table with this character, because the 2nd half of the film he's gone almost all of it. Gandolfini is terribly unfunny in this film with little to no funny lines at all and when he does say something funny, it doesn't come off as funny it just comes off as just mean spirited. Mohr is really not that funny at all and really just more awkward then he is funny which I feel like was intentional but his performance and actions just come off as strange and really weird. Olivia Wilde, while not known for comedy, does get some good lines like Carrell and Buscemi but again, I wish they could've given her more jokes to work with because she, like Buscemi, will disappear from the film for about 15 minutes at times. Thankfully the film has three saving graces in terms of comedy. One is Alan Arkin, who not only does a very funny and memorable performance here, but is very likable in the role and gets a lot of great scenes in the film. Second is the scenes at the nursing home and the ending joke but I won't dare ruin that joke. And Third is anything involving Jim Carrey, Carrey is hands down the one thing that keeps this film watchable. Carrey is not only funny, this is how Carrey was back in the 90s funny, and this is how Carrey should've been acting these past few years. The delivery Carrey gives, the parody of Criss Angel, and the amount of pain that Carrey endures in this film is beyond hilarious. The only problem, he really isn't in the film enough to completely save the film. Some jokes mainly will fall incredibly flat, weren't that funny to begin with, or just straight up mean or low (Alan Arkins character at the hospital is a good example of that, you'll see why in the movie) and the film really prefers drama more than it does prefer humor which is false advertising in my book for a film that looked like and was marketed as a straight up comedy.
Overall, while the magic elements in the film do look very cool, and some characters are likable in their own right, the comedy ranges from good to non existent, and the film really prefers to use drama more than comedy at many points in the film for a film that was marketed as a straight up comedy. Some jokes are straight up cringe-worthy, the hairstyles are just as over the top as most of the actors in this film, and the film is either too mean at points, adds unnecessary scenes and jokes, or it just loses interest in where the plot is going at points. I'd say I wouldn't see it again and I wouldn't really recommend it to people who don't like over the top comedy, but I'd say maybe if you're a fan of magic you can get into it and if you really like Jim Carrey you won't be happy he isn't in it as much as the film marketed it. The film really just left me with a desire for a lot more jokes, and I do understand why they add drama, but you could add a little more comedy to the film when you market like a straight up comedy.
only worth it for Jim Carry :D
GREG: (Greg Smith, Founder of Agile Writers of Richmond, VA) It was a delightful surprise. Fashioned after Will Ferrel movies like Blades of Glory and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Carell and friends take on the wonderful world of magic!
SCOTT: The real magic trick was that a movie like this seemed destined to be a dud, yet somehow provided solid entertainment. Lets recap: Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) play two magicians whose long-running Las Vegas act slowly becomes stale and unpopular. A rival magician, Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) has stolen their audience and their thunder by performing extreme tricks involving bodily mutilation. The two men are fired, have a falling out, and go their separate ways. Burt is unable to find work and has clearly lost his passion for magic.
GREG: This is such a fun, funny, and wonderful story of falling from grace and redemption. Burt Wonderstone had lost the wonder of magic until he meets his (now aged) childhood idol, Rance Halloway (Arkin). Rance chides Burt for having no joy for the art of magic and helps him to reclaim it. This is a classic heros redemption story.
SCOTT: Yes it is, Greg. As much as this movie is over-the-top goofy, and as much as Steve Carell plays farce to the hilt, we still are witness to a traditional heros journey. Burts fall into the unfamiliar world of failure leads him to a love interest, Jane (Olivia Wilde); a mentor character Rance which you mention; and an opportunity for transformation. Greg, what did you think of Antons role in this movie? Was this a buddy hero story or did Anton play more of a sidekick role?
GREG: Anton is Burts best friend from grade school. He was always the idea man and Burt was the front man. Anton was willing to take a back seat to Burt. While they were clearly buddies, I dont think this was a buddy film. It was all about Burts realization that he had gotten too big for his own britches and had to change his ways. So, Anton is clearly a sidekick in a movie about Burt Wonderstone. What did you think of Olivia Wildes role in this movie? Shes a long-time favorite of mine from the TV show House and her appearance in other movies including the underrated In Time.
SCOTT: Olivias character of Jane served a purpose that is common in both the movies and in real life. What is that purpose? Women make men better. There I said it. You see it in the movies all the time, from Groundhog Day to nearly every romantic comedy where the male hero is a dufus and the woman sets him straight.
GREG: Jim Carrey as Steve Gray looks a lot like David Blaine or Chris Angel (and the stunts they perform in such cable shows as Mind Freak). Carrey is a master of physical comedy and he uses all of his talent here. I was happy that he didnt go over the top. He seems to have tamed his mania and focused his gifts into a villain character that was a sharp contrast to Carells Wonderstone. Gray was sort of the grown-up bully that Wonderstone had to face as a child.
SCOTT: I was thinking the exact same thing about Carreys more subdued performance. Weve seen physical comedians on the big screen tone down their act with great commercial success before. Steve Martin comes to mind. I also appreciated how Antons hero story obeyed an important law of the hero journey: Heroes must use some aspect of their trials to redeem themselves. Anton travels overseas to a developing nation to perform magic to the starving masses -- a silly gag that falls flat. But while there, Anton discovers a plant that acts as a sedative. Burt and Anton later use that plant to help transform their magic act.
GREG: Thats a great plot device. The writers were pretty economical in their writing - they really didnt waste anything. I enjoyed this movie a lot more than I expected. And there was a lot more of the Heros Journey in it than I expected. I give The Incredible Burt Wonderstone 3 out of 5 Reels for an entertaining comedy experience and 3 out of 5 Heroes for a reasonably well-crafted hero. Movie: Hero:
SCOTT: Ditto, Greg. The movie was a fun romp, producing many chuckles and solid entertainment. Its no academy award-winner, but it did the job. I also give it 3 Reels out of 5. The Hero journey was certainly present from start to finish. It was a bit hard to root for an arrogant bastard like Burt, but Jane and Rance did eventually tame the beast. Like you, I give the hero Burt 3 out of 5 Heroes. Movie: Hero:
The magic and the punch are funny enough, although it seems to be a stable and well calculated "encourage style" movie.