Movie review: ‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’

“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” released on March 8, is a film about magicians that will ultimately leave audiences not feeling very magical.

Burt Wonderstone, played by Steve Carell (“The Office”), is a traditional magician facing decline due to the rise of street magicians, along the lines of Criss Angel.

Wondertone is a self-centered magician that has become far more interested in living a playboy lifestyle than in his magic. Anton Marvelton, played by Steve Buscemi (“Boardwalk Empire”), is his stage partner but leaves him due to his attitude, which results in Wonderstone losing his job headlining a casino.

Wonderstone’s only hope of escaping obscurity is to change his personality and win a talent contest to headline a new casino.

While there are some laughs to be found within the film, it is not a great comedy. Many of the jokes fall flat with the audience. Further, some of the plot is sacrificed for cheap jokes, especially during the ending. The combination of Carell, Jim Carrey and Arkin simply should have produced a funnier film.

One of the bright spots of the picture is the parody of street magicians, which showcases how silly and awkward much of this “magic” is. Steve Gray, played by Carrey (“Bruce Almighty”), is the most popular of these magicians, and Carrey steals almost every scene that he is in. One gets the sneaking suspicion that a film focused on him would have been far more interesting.

One of the stranger elements of the story is Wonderstone’s love interest. Jane, played by Olivia Wilde (“Tron: Legacy”), is a magician’s assistant who is initially turned off by Wonderstone but comes to fall in love with him through his transformation. The problem is that there is a twenty-one-year gap between the two actors and their relationship comes across as just awkward.

“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” is far more mediocre than incredible. It is hard to recommend taking the time to see this instead of waiting for the DVD.

David Carty

David Carty served as a staff writer for the 2012-2013 academic year.

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