I saw a great magic trick the other night. This trick was one that was skilled in the art of distraction, illusion, and even slight of hand. This trick had a few laughs but there were no moments of amazement or wonderment. And this trick was called The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. Director Don Scardino manages to take a movie that had some potential and allow it to become a not-so-funny comedy. Don’t get me wrong in that there are some funny moments and even a few that weren’t shown in the trailers and previews. But overall The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a move that just falls flat in trying to do too much with what it has and not enough with what it should have been.
The Incredible Burt Wondestone is the type of movie that should have been played as a lampoon of Las Vegas and magicians and just a laugh-roaring fun time. Instead we got a movie about Burt Wonderston (Steve Carell) and his long time friend and partner Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi). They have been friends since they met in 1982 and have become what was a long time staple attraction and must see act in Sin City – Las Vegas. But after working the Vegas Strip for ten years the act has become stale, boring, repetitive dull, and quite frankly just plain old and dated for 2013.
Add to this that the newcomer to the strip is Steve Gray (Jim Carrey)and his rabid fans follow everything he does on his television show Brain Rapist. Gray doesn’t do slight of hand tricks…he does tricks that are just daring and over the top; sleeping on hot coals, burning his arm on birthday candles, not blinking for 30-days.
It even seemed that the rest of the stars in the movie just didn’t want to be there and were only doing it for the check. How can you not like Alan Arkin but he’s come to the point in his career where he’s being cast as the cranky old guy. James Galdolfini basically played James Galdolfini doing his impression of James Galdolfini. And Olivia Wilde you play the “love interest” that hates Burt at first but after a few months you come to realize that he is a person that does care (even if he gives off an aura of one that only cares for one person…himself).
This movie should have been BIG…BALLSY… and FUNNY. This should have been a sudo-documentary style movie as we follow along the lives of two beloved magicians who could be at the end of their career or the start of a new one as they reinvent themselves. Instead we get a farce of a comedy that doesn’t give what the audience came to see – a compelling show that makes you want to see more and see it again.