What a breath of magically fresh air.
Steve Carrell plays magician Burt Wonderstone who with his partner Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) spent ten years headlining in Vegas. Their show is popular but trapped in old ways. Cutting-edge shock-magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) is getting all of the attention and Burt and Anton are pressured to update their act.
This is a great story of a competition between the David Copperfield/Siegfried and Roy-esque world of magic and that of the David Blaine street magic. Besides Carrell, Buscemi and Carrey, the Incredible Burt Wonderstone has great supporting cast with the likes of aged magician and idol of Burt and Anton, Rance Holloway played by Alan Arkin, and the magical beauty of Olivia Wilde. I also liked the magicians bar that was reminiscent of the clown bar in Shakes the Clown or the hero bar in the Tick series.
For the Story, I’ll pull a rabbit out of a hat and present them with a +2. For the Look they’ll get a +2 because the visual effects were flawless, the magic well-presented, costumes were spot on and ridiculous when they needed to be. The Overall Casting totally deserved a +2 and the Commitment to Genre delivers what it should while with not much extra and lands a +1.
I will deduct -2 points for becoming a romantic comedy coated in cliché by the middle of the film and even though it does recover from that affliction it cannot be undone. I will add a point (+1) for a woman performing magic because if women can be dentists and even drive streetcars now, there is no reason they can’t do magic (did you notice that there was absolutely no acknowledgement of witches – just weaving a story). I will add two points (+2) for Anton Marvelton bringing magic kits to starving children when all they wanted was food and water. I will deduct one point (-1) for Burt Wonderstone’s photo parting gift as it’s dumb-funny and another deduction of -1 for his expenses because funny is always funnier when it sits in the real-world. As a last note I will award a +1 for James Galdolfini who passed away last month and whom I’ve grown to feel like he’s family after having recently watched all 6 seasons of the Sopranos.
Now I will also say that if you don’t like magic, the cheese of Vegas or hot and intelligent female magicians, you might not like this film as much as I did.
Final score: +7.