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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Movie Review: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone 
2013
Cast: Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey, Alan Arkin, Olivia Wilde, James Gandolfini
Genre: Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $27 million 

Plot: A veteran Vegas magician tries to revive his career after his longtime partner quits, he gets fired from his casino act, & an edgy new street magician steals his thunder





'Could It Be Magic? Most Definitely'

Flopped on general release in the U.S originally, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a comedic take on the rise and fall of a Las Vegas magic act: the duo of Burt Wonderstone played by The Office's Steve Carrell, who successfully transitioned onto films such as Bruce Almighty, Little Miss Sunshine and Anchorman and Steve Buscemi, formerly of Reservoir Dogs and The Wedding Singer amongst other films as his partner, Anton, and an actor of whom has shown many times his versatility in a range of dramatic and comedic roles. 

Albert is a young boy lives with his mother and he opens a magic set which contains an instructional video featuring the master magician, Rance Holloway. When Albert meets fellow boy, Anton, the pair become long-time friends and they devise new tricks and hope that one day, their chance to become successful magicians turn into a reality. Several years on, the experienced Albert and Anton have grown tired of each other and become bitter, and with that, a new hot-shot arrogant magician enters the scene with more daring tricks and feats up his sleeve, in his attempt to steal the limelight away from the pairing. This Gray fella is in the mode of a David Blaine, but who also has the looks to attract a wider audience. Soon, Albert and Anton find themselves up against Steve Gray with their old-school style & showmanship versus his riskier, dangerous, daring and attention-seeking illusions.   

Watching Jim Carrey's turn as bad guy Steve Gray, Gray has now become one of my favourite characters of Jim's and as his first true comedic role since Bruce Almighty and after bombs in Fun With Dick and Jane, Mr Popper's Penguins, it was great to see him being back to his sheer best, thus hamming it up and going back to his funny roots. He hasn't enjoyed much success post-1990s when his film career took off after Ace Ventura, The Mask, Dumb & Dumber and Liar Liar. But The Incredible Burt Wonderstone showcases the Jim Carrey I love as far as the comedy aspect goes, not to mention various character roles as different, bizarre but still unique that he should have received under his belt more often. I also love how his character looks; Steve looks and is so unlike Ace Ventura, The Mask/Stanley Ipkiss, Lloyd of Dumb and Dumber - those characters are funny sure enough, but they were also geeky, a little awkward and strange in their own ways but good-natured too. Steve, meanwhile, is cocky, boastful, edgy and reckless, but still funny in places. As antagonist roles go, the brazen Steve Gray is far more fun, less cheesy and cooler than the Riddler in the campy Batman Forever. & I dig Carrey with the long blond hair, goatee, his buff physical transformation he had undergone for the part, and his outfit in this film.



When it comes to Jim Carrey films and comedic performances, sadly, this one has gone unnoticed by many and is overlooked, which is a little sad and isn't helped that the film received lukewarm to poor reviews, because, for fans of his who love his comedies, they really need to give this a watch. 

I've been generally disappointed by many comedy films that came out during the 2000s and 2010s, as the humour and style is not to my liking, but here with Burt Wonderstone, the humour and comedy was really sound, even though it wasn't excessively funny, it was mildly amusing and I sensed that there was a lot of thought gone into the 'magic' element of the film and how it is conceived, as well as the feel-good factor about The Incredible Burt Wonderstone that exudes throughout. It also helps that the film gets by thanks to the charm of Carell, Buscemi and Carrey. The film and the comedy are in the vein of Anchorman, which will interest fans of that movie. 

After playing the arch-rival in Bruce Almighty to Jim Carrey, Steve Carell has a role-reversal turn as the title character and protagonist, Burt opposite Carrey's not-so-good guy, Carrey and Carrell do a really good job as their respective characters and they provide plenty of wit and amusing banter to this film. Despite Carell's Burt being underwritten.





Final Verdict:

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a throwback to magic acts such as Houdini and David Copperfield, as well as David Blaine, but also it is a reminder to me that though great comedy films are scarce over the last decade into this decade, there are the odd masterstrokes and guilty pleasure efforts that are amusing, brimming with charm and puts a smile on my face. & alas, this is clearly one of them. 

It was trashed by critics and whilst with its Anchorman-feel, it should have been wackier and way funnier, this was still a pleasing film to me. 


Along with a delightful comeback performance by Jim Carrey, it surely is, magic. 


Overall:



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