The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

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In , Steve Carrell and Steve Buscemi play Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton, who were once the most popular magic act in Las Vegas.  However, after a decade of doing the exact same act, they have started to become stale and have been losing their audience to an extreme street magician named Steve Gray ().  Pretty soon Wonderstone finds himself an unemployed has-been and employs the help of his idol Rance Holloway () to help find his way back to the top.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone explores two different schools of magic. First there is the old-school stage spectacle, which uses slight of hand and elaborate illusions.  Then there is the street magic from the likes of David Blaine and Chris Angel, which is more akin to glorified stunts than actual magic.  In some ways, the film is coming a decade too late, since I don't think either Blaine or Angel are as popular as they were in the early-mid 2000s.  However, I still thought the clash between the two styles to be a funny one.

Steve Carrell has the biggest challenge in the film, since he is very arrogant and unlikeable for the first half of the film.  However, this is intentional, since it is supposed to demonstrate how Burt Wonderstone let fame get to his head and is now performing more to bed groupies than a true passion for magic.  As such, you are supposed to notice it more when his character learns the errors of his ways and regains his passion for magic.
I thought that Jim Carrey absolutely stole the film as the Chris Angel-parody Steve Gray.  Carrey is at fine form as he oversells the ridiculous and extreme stunts that Gray performs and he is quite hilarious in the role.  At the same time, he is also great in his antagonistic role and it is quite easy to hate the character.  As for the rest of the cast, Alan Arkin is his usual cranky self as Holloway and Olivia Wilde also shines as romantic interest Jane.
Overall, I thought that The Incredible Burt Wonderstone was a fun watch.  At the end of the day it might not equate itself to much more than a piece of entertainment, but I am perfectly fine with that.  Also, I have to say that some of the magic tricks shown in the film were quite impressive, most especially the big one in the climax.  I'd recommend checking the film out.


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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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