The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Release Year: 2013
Director: Don Scardino
Writers: Jonathan Goldstein (screenplay & story), John Francis Daley (screenplay & story), Chad Kultgen (story), Tyler Mitchell (story)
Starring: Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Jim Carrey, James Gandolfini, Alan Arkin, Jay Mohr, Michael Herbig, Mason Cook, Luke Vanek, Zachary Gordon
Burt Wondertone (Steve Carell) tries to find back to his roots and restart his career after his Las Vegas show fails and his best friend and partner quits and a edgy new “street magician” steals his thunder.
The world of stage magicians, also known as illusionists, is a subject ripe for parody, so it is perhaps a bit surprising that it has not been the basis of more comedies than is the case. But then again, that might have something to do with the fact that magic does not hold the same fascination it did once, and a magician’s kit is not on the top of a young boy’s wishlist as is the case with the young boy we meet at the beginning of this film. This young boy, bullied and lonely, has his life turned around by a magician’s kit. It teaches him skills that makes people notices him in a positive way and earns him his first and only friend, Anton. Sadly, when we meet this young boy, Burt, again as an adult he has become an egotistical bastard who has fallen fallen out of love with magic and his best friend Anton, played by Steve Buscemi, whose efforts go unappreciated. Carell (Date Night, 2008) plays Burt Wonderstone in the usual Steve Carell style that you will either like or dislike. There is no real depth or quality to the character, Carell could do him with his hands tied behind his back, but that would be expected to much of the film. Wilde (TRON: Legacy, 2010) plays a strong supporting character, and she and Buscemi’s kindhearted goof, counteracts Carell’s behaviour. Arkin (Argo, 2012) is as always great as the old magician who reenters the stage for a final performance. Special mention goes to Jim Carey, whose fun but slightly over the top parody of the edgy street magicians who emerged in the late 1990s (which makes the movie at least ten years to late) is wacky but great. A comedy about a return to the innocence of staying in the moment that requires an innocent and uncritical approach in order to be enjoyed. Alas, not Zoolander for stage magicians but a fun little comedy if you enjoy the work of Steve Carell.
Illusionist David Copperfield revealed how some of his tricks were done for the film under the protection of a secrecy clause. Another famous current illusionist, Criss Angel, of whom Jim Carrey’s character is a parody, also worked as a consultant on the film.
Picture Copyright: Warner Bros.