INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE, THE
Magician Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) splits from his longtime stage partner Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) after guerrilla street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) steals their thunder. By spending some time with his boyhood idol, Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin) Burt looks to remember what made him love magic in the first place.
Review by Louise Keller:
While it might be true to say that if you've seen the trailer you've seen the film, the fun (or guilty pleasure) comes from the well executed schtick, as Steve Carell and Jim Carrey deliver their nonsense in this zany comedy about magic, theatre and showbiz razzamatazz. 30 Rock director, Don Scardino takes the concept right to the edge, capturing the glitz and surreal mood of the Vegas experience as well as the superficiality of its shallow world. The film shines at what it sets out to do - entertain. And entertain it does, with its high farce concept, spoofs, funny lines and top drawer cast.
Everyone loves a magician is the line that initially seduces Burt Wonderstone as a youngster, when his mother gives him a video presented by famous magician Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin). It is the joy and passion of watching the impossible that propels Burt into a career with his nerdy best friend (played as an adult by Steve Buscemi). As The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton, the pair repeats the same stock stage illusions year after year, wearing matching (and outdated) burgundy brocade outfits and hair tamed by too much product. James Gandolfini is suitably shallow as the Bally hotel's tycoon Doug Munny, in whose cabaret room Burt and Anton headline.
Accustomed to seducing every pretty girl who crosses his path, Burt's routine includes a prepared sex release sheet, and promises that 'it's huge', referring to the largest bed in Vegas. Lines like 'How are you?' / 'I'm incredible' and 'I'm so hungry I almost ate my rabbit,' are funny by the delivery and Carell is in fine form, inhabiting the self-adoring Wonderstone with obvious delight.
Catalyst for his fall from grace is Jim Carrey's long-haired, 'brain rapist' street magician Steve Gray, whose gross-out, dare-devil stunts become the yardstick which Burt needs to top. Burt's predictable descent from superstardom is good fun and I love the scene in which Carell tries to convince David Copperfield he needs a partner. Watch out for the scenes in the Magicians' Bar, where there's a running gag involving two working magicians (Jay Mohr and Michael Herbig), the latter playing an illusionist who is repeatedly mauled by one of the big cats with which he works.
It is at the retirement home, where Rance Holloway now resides, that the narrative finally acquires grit and where Alan Arkin cuts the cocky Burt down to size. Olivia Wilde brings beauty and charm as Burt's assistant and love interest; the seduction scene offers a sequence of amusing sleight of hand. The final grand illusion, designed to re-open the doors of stardom for Burt and Anton is a doozy, its concept being as over the top as is its execution.
You know what you're in for with Burt Wonderstone - so what are you waiting for?
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INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE, THE (M)
CAST: Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Olivia Wild, Steve Buscemi, Alan Arkin, Gillian Jacobs, James Gandolfini, Zachary Gordon, Brad Garrett, Jay Mohr, Mason Cook, David Copperfield
PRODUCER: Steve Carell, Chris Bender, Tyler Mitchell, Jake Weiner
DIRECTOR: Don Scardino
SCRIPT: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Matthew Clark
EDITOR: Lee Haxall
MUSIC: Lyle Workman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Keith Cunningham
RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 14, 2013