The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

The moment I heard about this movie, I knew I had to watch it without fail. However the negative reviews and criticisms against the storyline and the predictability of it all put a damper on things and it was only today that I sat back to watch it. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a 2013 comedy film directed by Don Scardino and written by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, based on a story by Chad Kultgen & Tyler Mitchell, and Daley & Goldstein. The film stars Steve Carrell, who also co-produced the film, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde & Jim Carrey. Alan Arkin & James Gandolfini are co-star in the film.

So what is the movie about? Burt & Anton Marvelton are two magicians who have been best friends for 30 years & partners with their own magic show in Las Vegas. After a much bullied Burt is gifted a magic set from his mother as a boy on his birthday in 1982, he is inspired by the magician who made an instructional video that goes along with it. As the young Burt practices his tricks in school, he befriends Anton and the two become a team and create new tricks. Over the past 30 years the two have become a successful act and have headlined at the Bally’s Hotel in Las Vegas for the past 10 years. However as the audience starts dwindling due to the same routines & tricks, media focus shifts to newcomer Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), a street magician who does unique & dangerous acts for his tv show – ‘Mind Rapist’! Anton, fed up with Burt’s ego and attitude that has cost them many female assistants, quits the duo as their attempt to stun audiences (locking themselves in a plastic cage called the Hot Box hung above ground) goes awry as Burt refused to rehearse. Anton is injured and leaves the partnership and Burt’s behaviour makes the latest assistant, Jane, also quit.

However without Anton, Burt’s stage performances go really bad and he is fire by Bally’s by the owner (Gandolfini) and is out on the street as he has spent all his money. Broke & homeless he tries to crash at Jane’s place but insults her with his insensitive remarks and hence is thrown out. Working small jobs here & there, a humiliated Burt finally gets a job as entertainer  an assisted-living facility catering to former Vegas entertainers. There he finds Rance Holloway, the famous magician from the instructional video, who had quit show business many years ago. The two begin a friendship and with Rance  inspiring him to remember the initial wonder that led him to become a magician. The two catch one of Grey’s shows, with Jane assisting them, and appalled they work on new material. Jane visits her grandmother at the facility and patches things up with Burt. Bally is opening a new casino and is looking for an act to sign as headliner invites Burt to do a magic show at his son’s birthday party, but Gray also appears and tries to upstage Burt with his own tricks. Jane leaves, quitting Grey’s act, and meets up with Burt – who is approached by a returning Anton. The best friends have a silly, sentimental reunion and reconsile. A drug found in Cambodia that puts users into a deep sleep gives them an idea for a sensational trick. At the event that opens the new casino sees Grey performance involves him drilling into his brain, claiming it will not affect him – but it does! Rance introduces the next act – Burt & Anton’s “Disappearing Audience” and with Jane’s help, they secretly sedate the audience with sleeping gas and then transports them to an outside location in the same seating locations. The audience awakes and responds with awe, and Doug awards the headlining act to Burt and Anton; they ask Jane to be their opening act. The trio then performs the Disappearing Audience trick again, returning everyone to the casino theater, as now mentally-impaired Gray watches on with the drill bit still in his skull.

The criticism against the movie is that it is inconsistent, predictable as hell and safe. Carrell seems to be repeating himself in some parts; I was sure I had seen the character before! Buscemi to be honest , does ok in spurts and Gandolfini was fine. The credits go to Alan Arkin and Jim Carrey – the latter steals the show! Gray holding his pee for 12 days is a hilarious endurance test! As was the sleeping overnight on burning coals! A shame, as there are some laughs. The movie bombed at the box office, not even making back it’s small budget of $30 million, only making 27.4 million! There’s a cameo by David Copperfield and Daly (Sweets from Bones) also has a cameo as a paramedic. While I enjoyed the fun stuff, I do see why the movie failed at the box office. Still, 7 outta 10!

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