Wednesday, March 13, 2013

REVIEW: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

The Incredible
Burt Wonderstone

Steve Carrell, Steve Buschemi


March 15, 2013

Don Scardino

Warner Bros. Pictures,
New Line Cinema

1 hour 40 minutes



Movies essentially are magic that enchant audiences all over the world.  They're able to make reality disappear and have an entirely new world presented directly in front of them within the blink of an eye. With special glasses, movies can pop right out at you and bring you one step closer into these awesome worlds.  Of course, though, there are magicians all over the world, most notably in Las Vegas.  'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone' takes audiences into that crazy world of rivaling magicians and, while not giving us anything remotely original in terms of plot details and cliched drama that is always put in comedies, gives off many laughs and some great performances, particularly from Alan Arkin and Jim Carrey.  Even though 'Burt Wonderstone' wasn't as hilarious and great as it could have been, it was still an entertaining and funny comedy that manages to give off some of the best moments I've seen all year.

For 30 years, Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton have practiced the art of magic so much so that they have a headlining show at Bailly's in Las Vegas.  Unfortunately, the name of their act "Burt and Anton: A Magical Friendship" is now an irony as the two magicians have become divas of their own and despise each other.  When a new street magician named Steve Gray comes into the spotlight, Burt and Anton start losing ticket sales due to the people saying that they want the next big thing.  In order for the magic in their act to become new again, Burt and Anton must find the magic in their friendship and the wonder and awe that made them get into the business in the first place.

The actors in the movie are either really good, or they're just decent.  The two actors who fall under the decent category are Steve Carell and James Gandolfini.  Don't get me wrong, they were good in the movie.  I feel though it was how their characters were written that they were only able to give an average performance.  They both felt dry and pretty unlikable for the most part.  In fact, there were moments where I was rooting for the villain of the movie to win instead of the hero.  That's never supposed to happen, now is it?  Olivia Wilde and Steve Buschemi are really good in the movie, giving some great performances in the film as well as delivering on some funny jokes.  The two funniest actors in the film though are Alan Arkin and Jim Carrey. 

Alan Arkin and Jim Carrey play veteran magician Rance Hollaway and rival magician Steve Gray respectively.  Arkin uses his dialogue and his comedic timing to steal a scene and helps make the movie really enjoyable.  As for Jim Carrey, he goes back to his 'In Living Color' roots and uses nothing but physical comedy to steal the show.  In almost every single scene he's in, Carrey finds a ridiculous and hilarious way to make the audience explode in contagious laughter.  If they made a spinoff movie with just Jim Carrey's character, I bet it would be a lot funnier than this film overall.  I think the reason why the film isn't as funny as I had hoped was because of the writing.

The movie was written by four writers, one of them being John Francis Daley, who also wrote the 2011 comedy 'Horrible Bosses' and starred in a great cult-TV show called 'Freaks & Geeks.'  A movie with four writers is already a bad sign, because each writer could want to go their own way with the film and make it jumbled and unfunny for the most part.  That sadly is what happens here.  Sure there are jokes that are funny, in fact some are hilarious, but the movie suffers from an excessive amount of slow and dry spans of time that leave the comedy scattered all over the place.  If this movie had had one or two writers who knew exactly how they wanted to make this movie, then it's possible that it could have been a much funnier movie.  Instead, this is what we get, and it's pretty disappointing.

'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone' had the potential to be an incredibly funny and awesome comedy.  Instead, it's only a good movie that's being given a slight recommendation.  There isn't quite a lot of humor in the movie, but when it hits it hits really hard.  The acting is fine for the most part, but it's Jim Carrey and Alan Arkin who steal the show.  Director Don Scardino did the best he could do with this mixed up script, and he actually did fine as a first time director.  If only the movie was more satisfying in the humor department.  If you go see this movie, I doubt you'll hate yourself for seeing it, but you may be disappointed with the overall outcome and such.  'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone' is a fine comedy that could have been much funnier, but is worth watching on DVD or something.



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1 comment:

  1. A really good entertainer. I agree that Jim Carrey's magic acts where a bit too violent for a family movie, overall the movie succeeded in entertaining the entire group. The attempt at humour at times seems over-the-top but in a movie about entertainers, this is acceptable.


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