Certificate 15, 100 minutes
Director: Don Scardino
Stars: Steve Carell, Olivia Wilde, Steve Buscemi
In The Incredible Burt Wonderstone a young and bullied Albert (Mason Cook) is given a Rance Holloway Magic Set for his birthday. Watching the video tape of Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin) explaining magic, Albert becomes enraptured with the idea of becoming a magician, because "everyone loves a magician." He teams up with a young Anton (Luke Vanek) and they become a magic act.
Forward to the present and the duo have headlined in Doug Munny's (James Gandolfino, Killing Them Softly) casino in Las Vegas for ten years as The Incredible Burt and Anton, comprised of Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Despicable Me 2) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi, Hotel Transylvania 2, Monsters University). Burt in particular has over the years lost the joy he originally had in performing magic and grown incredibly arrogant, conceited, vain and shallow. Even worse, the pair's selling point, their "Magical Friendship" is now a sham, with Burt and Anton constantly arguing when not performing.
Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Incredible-Burt-Wonderstone-Poster.jpgOnto the scene comes up and coming street "magician" Steve Gray (Jim Carrey, Kick-Ass 2), who resembles David Blaine in many ways, although taken to the nth degree and with a topping of Jim Carrey insanity. He is first seen performing a rather unpleasant magic trick for his cable television show, The Brain Rapist, but quickly goes onto pointless and incredibly dangerous stunts that have no true resemblance to any magic act, again in a manner similar to David Blaine and again to a more exaggerated and dafter degree.
With the added pressure of low ticket sales for their act, the pair break up after a stunt of the type performed by Gray goes wrong, and they lose their gig at the casino. Burt is reduced to performing at a retirement home for Vegas entertainers and finds his childhood hero Rance Halloway is retired there. Together with Rance and Jane (Olivia Wilde, In Time, TRON: Legacy), who Burt enlisted as his and Anton's assistant earlier when their previous assistant stormed off mid act and whom he insists on calling Nicole, Burt tries to rebuild his reputation, his joy in magic and his friendship with Anton and get a new gig performing in Vegas.
The stunts and tricks that Jim Carrey's character performs are often pretty gruesome to watch and probably resulted in the film's 15 rating, which is probably higher than it's really aimed at; it really seems like it should have been a 12A certificate for most of the rest of the film, especially given the level of humour. There are some genuinely funny bits in the film and Carrey's performance is so completely over the top that it's reminiscent of some of his earlier films. As a whole, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a bit mixed, with genuine comedy, dark comedy especially from Carrey's portrayal of the antics of Steve Gray, as well as sentimentality and satire, but it's worth a watch although it's not really a family friendly film even though it seems that that was what it was aiming for.
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