“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” Review

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“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” Review

www.theincredibleburtwonderstone.com

www.theincredibleburtwonderstone.com

www.theincredibleburtwonderstone.com

Story by Joseph Swit, Staff Writer

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About halfway through “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”, I reflected back on the series of events that had conspired to place me into a half empty movie theatre watching an utterly predictable and lackluster comedy.

Then I remembered that it had been the product of even more mediocre films opening at the same time, I had found the theatre marquee littered with such works of art as ‘‘Spring Breakers’’, “The Last Exorcism Part II”, ‘‘21 and Over’’, and let’s not forget “Jack The Giant Slayer” shall we.  It was clear to me in that moment that we were still mired in the post awards season movie drag: an entertainment wasteland where Hollywood throws its worst comedies, washed up stars, and most outrageous scripts at us, knowing full well that we will pay our 11, 12, 13, or how many dollars it takes to get into a local cinema regardless of quality.

Normally I steer clear of the theatre this time of year, but since I just couldn’t take another day of forcing myself to watch “American Idol” and had gone through all possible reruns of “Lost”, I decided to give this batch of movies a shot.  So I trekked out to the theatre, hoping against hope that at least one decent film not staring James Franco could be found amongst this jumbled mess of movies.  I thought “Wonderstone” would be the one.  And as usual, I was wrong.

On face value, “Wonderstone” seemed to have the cast necessary to become a memorable comedy.  With comedic heavyweights Steve Carell and Jim Carrey headlining along with veteran, and always amusing supporting actors Steve Buscemi and Alan Arkin, “Wonderstone” should have been a homerun.

So let’s get to what the film’s director Don Scardino wants you to believe is the plot, or what I have previously referred to as a jumbled mess.  The film follows aging Las Vegas magicians and childhood friends Burt (Carell) and Anton (Buscemi) as they try to stay relevant.  We get some fun laughs early in the film but the tone feels uneven when Scardino introduces Jane (Olivia Wilde) as a love interest to Burt.  Wilde is believable enough in her role but never seems to have the chemistry to mesh with Carell, who by this time looks as uninterested in his own role as I was in watching him.

The larger point here is that the film wants us to care about these characters and root for them along their journey; however it’s hard to take these characters seriously and feel for them when they’re making pigeons come out of their ear every five minutes.  Also, depicting both Burt and Anton as loathsome, greedy, and malicious entertainers doesn’t get the audience emotionally involved or invested in the plot or the character’s fate.  The film could have worked as either a satirical look at the entertainment business or a lighthearted romantic comedy, but not both.

There are some redeeming factors about the film; Carrey makes a welcome return to form as an up and coming rival to Burt and Anton.  Carrey’s scenes are refreshing enough to save the movie for even a few minutes at least when he is not being undercut by a bungling Carell or Bucsemi.

So when the credits mercifully rolled an hour and forty minutes too late on “Wonderstone”, a few hearty theatre goers and I scattered as fast as we had come.  I guess I blame myself for even expecting this mid-March mishap of a movie to be anything but mediocre.  So if you are an idealist like I was prior to this, and feel that there is hope for start-of-the-year-movies, then give Steve Carell and Jim Carrey a shot, for old time’s sake.  But buyer beware: “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” is neither wonderful nor incredible, but purely average and forgettable.

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