The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Presto! Smoke and mirrors are everywhere as the stage magician uses his suave personality to entertain the audience. The art of stage magic is not easy and takes years of perfection. I remember sitting on a couple of magic shows. For my ninth birthday, one performer who was simple, made me smile when a bird popped out of his hand and making mom and dad do a card trick. I also saw Lance Burton levitate a car to my amazement. I was sixteen and I thought it was astounding. His magic was more sophisticated and grand. Even though I knew I was being deceived, I still felt like I had just witnessed the works of a man of not of this world.
Magicians are popular and show no signs of leaving soon. You can’t plan a vacation to Las Vegas without seeing an ad for a magic show. I have even seen small phone book pages of people who are willing to showcase at a kids birthday party. Those that are willing to do this clearly love the art of deception and want to keep improving and making themselves appear grander. What happens when one reaches the height of his grand appearance and has to compete with other talent. A magician is put to the test in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.
In the city of Las Vegas, Burt Wonderstone (played by Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (played by Steve Buscemi) are at the top of their game as a popular magic team that has performed as Baily’s Casino headliner for ten years. Burt and Anton discovered magic when they were little boys that got bullied a lot for their small size. A birthday gift for Burt gives him magic as an escape from the real world (stop thinking about Harry Potter). For years, Burt and Anton have been successful with their duel act, yet are about to see how dated they are.
A younger street magician named Steve Gray (played by Jim Carrey) has been dazzling people by demonstrating more dangerous stunts like pulling someone’s card out of his body and sleeping on hot coals. His popularity causes Burt and Anton to look for a new trick to bring back the crowds. This backfires when a floating hotbox trick goes wrong leaving Anton with broken ankles and him leaving. This leads Burt to become fired and resorting to do tricks at bargain stores and retirement homes. By chance, he runs into Rance Holloway (played by Alan Arkin), an older magician who inspired Burt to take on stage magic. From the confidence he gains, Burt might be able to pull off his greatest illusion.
After seeing something like Oz the Great and Powerful that was large and grand, I was happy about The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’s smaller and comedic tone. I liked the idea of exploring a Siegfried and Roy like relationship that Burt and Anton have. I laughed at how large Burt’s ego has become (going as far as buying the worlds largest bed. Not to mention that Jim Carrey gets laughs in all of his scenes as a Criss Angel knockoff. Know why couldn’t we get more scenes with him.
What The Incredible Burt Wonderstone does well at is the casting and how developed they are. What it doesn’t do correctly is the tone. It get’s a lot of jokes in, but it can’t decide whether it want’s to be dark or more family friendly. I probably wouldn’t want my four-year-old cousin watching a man pound a nail with his head. But I will say the magic was entertaining. It’s something I’m sure audiences’ will loves, but I hope they can find joy out of constant rewatches in the future. I think I would only watch it again if there was nothing else on.
I’ll give this three and a half hotboxes out of five. Despite the advertising claiming it as a family film, I think adults will find more magic. It could have used a little more razzle dazzle, but I found it funny enough to recommend.