Opening this weekend is the new Steve Carell and Jim Carrey comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. From director Don Scardino (of TV’s 30 Rock), the film is written by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley the writers of Horrible Bosses. From the film’s official synopsis:
Superstar magicians Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) have ruled the Las Vegas strip for years, raking in millions with illusions as big as Burt’s growing ego. But lately the duo’s greatest deception is their public friendship, while secretly they’ve grown to loathe each other.
Facing cutthroat competition from guerilla street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), whose cult following surges with each outrageous stunt, even their show looks stale. But there’s still a chance Burt and Anton can save the act—both onstage and off—if Burt can get back in touch with what made him love magic in the first place.
It also stars Olivia Wilde as Burt and Anton’s assistant, Jay Mohr as the struggling comic Rick the Implausible, James Gandolfini as a Las Vegas casino owner and Alan Arkin as older magician Rance Holloway.
Now early reviews of Burt Wonderstone are pretty bad with the majority being negative. All you really need to know about the film going in is Steve Carell and Jim Carrey star in it. If that idea makes you want to see it, go see it. If that idea makes you cringe, stay home. It’s really that simple. I don’t know why I wasn’t overly excited about seeing the film considering I like every person in the cast, but I wasn’t all that pumped. Maybe that helped lower my expectations because I really enjoyed the film. It’s not the most in your face, huge belly laughing comedy ever made and sure the trailers give away a lot, but I found myself laughing more than not and that’s all I ask for.
Some people have talked about why certain actors were in this, why Olivia Wilde was underused or why Steve Buscemi wasn’t given much and blah blah blah. It’s a comedy, just enjoy it. If it’s not your type of thing so be it. I repeat, it’s a comedy, it doesn’t need to have the best character development or perfect acting or anything else like that. It won’t win awards, but I sat there and laughed. That’s one of the things I hate about this industry, people can’t just accept a movie for what it is, but I’ll get off my soapbox now.
To me the overall concept of Burt Wonderstone was rather original. I can’t think of too many movies about magicians especially comedies. At its core it’s a simple buddy comedy with an antagonist, but for me it worked. Steve Carell made me laugh. Steve Buscemi made me laugh. Jim Carrey made me laugh and is anyone on a bigger roll lately than Alan Arkin? Sure Olivia Wilde isn’t much more than eye candy, but you can’t get much better eye candy. And it’s good to see Jay Mohr getting some work again!
Is the movie perfect? Of course not. You can pretty much see everything coming a mile away, but I’d certainly watch it again. I’d probably own the DVD when it comes out too. I’ve heard some people complain Carell was just doing Ron Burgundy, but I liked Anchorman and don’t see that as a negative. Carrey does a pretty good David Blaine and comes across just douchey enough to pull it off. Buscemi isn’t given a whole lot and has done better films, but I think he played opposite Carell rather well as the more reserved character. I even thought Carell and Wilde had some quality scenes together and the running joke between them worked every time.
Oz the Great and Powerful will continue its box office dominance with this and The Call as the only real competition in new (wide) releases. I think it’s good enough or at least has enough buzz/fans of the actors to claim the number two position. It’s not good enough to be a huge summer blockbuster, but since it’s March, it should do fine.
Follow me at www.twitter.com/Murraymaker