Starring: Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Jim Carrey, James Gandolfini, Alan Arkin, Jay Mohr
Directed by Don Scardino
Run Time: 100 mins
Opens March 15th
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
The wonderful world of showcase magicians is a relatively unexplored topic in films to date, unless you count the boy wizard, Mickey Mouse or relying on heavy CGI effects. In more of a character study, two comedy giants Steve Carrell and Jim Carrey, duke it out in a farcical tale "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone."
In the wondrous year that was 1982, young Albert got his first taste of magic in the form of a birthday present from his mother; a genuine Rance Holloway Magic Set. Albert was so enthralled and enchanted by the set that he delved into it. At school, the other kids bullied young Bert, but one young lad thought his tricks were cool. Anthony (Luke Vanek) was another kid outcast by his peers but found a true friend in Albert, bonding over magic tricks and illusions.
As the boys turned into men, their act Burt (Steve Carrell) and Anton (Steve Buscemi) become more sophisticated, catching the attention of Las Vegas hotel owner Doug Munny (James Gandolfini). In the early 1990’s and 2000’s, Burt & Anton were the hottest ticket in Vegas. After thousands of shows, a massive fan base and unfathomable riches, Burt’s egotistical, entitled, epicurean colors ruled his life, threatening his relationship with Anton and their future in magic.
The men’s career took another hit when street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) rolls into town with his reality t.v. show, showcasing some of the most outrageous, repugnant and deranged stunts ever seen. With the attendance numbers low to their performances and the arrival of Steve Gray, Doug Munny is forced to fired Burt and Anton. Burt blamed Anton for their lack of originality, forcing Anton to end the friendship out of respect for himself.
Burt, now homeless, unemployed and still unfulfilled by life is forced to take jobs at the local Big Lots store and retirement homes to survive. Will he be able to regain all that he has lost or will Steve Gray win, taking all the joy and wonder out of magic performance?
Entertainment comes in all shapes, forms and sizes, but when it comes in two comedy titans, be prepared for an interesting ride. The premise of the film at first glance is as campy as it seems, but the characters created by Steve Carrell and Jim Carrey puts them back on top for a comedy hit. Carrell’s Wonderstone is an amalgamation of the idiocy of Anchorman, the arrogance of Michael Scott from The Office, and the childlike charm and wonder of Andy from The 40 Year Old Virgin. This is a surprisingly enjoyable comedy that is full of unique characters, ridiculous situations but oh so much fun to watch. Be sure to check out “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” when it opens in theaters starting Friday March 15, 2013.