THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE
How times have changed. Years ago, a fresh young comic named Steve Carrell received his first big movie break from Jim Carrey, who then, was the top comedic box office draw. The movie was "Bruce Almighty". Flash forward a decade or so and the roles are reversed. Carrell’s name carries a lot of box office clout, and Carrey can’t buy a decent script. Carrey’s mistake occurred after his excellent performance in “The Truman Show”. He should have won the Oscar for Best Actor that year, but the Academy soured against him because he would not kiss their collective asses. Eddie Murphy made the same mistake years later with “Dreamgirls”. Despite Carrey’s slobbering apologies, the Hollywood establishment, like a scorned lover, has made life in Tinseltown all but impossible for him. No established studio will offer him a script worthy of his talents. Even former lover Jenny McCarthy jumped on the dis Jim bandwagon, spreading a host of malicious PR after their break up.
Carrell, who owes a lot to Carrey for his career success, came to the rescue by offering him the antagonist part in “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”, a tale of Las Vegas magicians, trying to keep up with a more demented populace. Originally, Mathew Broderick and Sasha Baron Cohen were considered for the part of Steve Gray, but Carrell, who also produced the film, insisted on Carrey. While the film brings Carrey back into the public eye, the film just isn’t a strong vehicle. "Bruce Almighty" wasn't a good film, but it is funnier than "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone." With two giant comedic talents like Carrell and Carrey, Screenwriters Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (one of the dreaded three-named people) should have been over the top with this story; like Jack Nicholson as the Joker. Instead, they opt to place comedy as a subplot and use the human experience as the main storyline. This is akin to using Jason Statham in a love story.
Burt Wonderstone (Carrell) is the class nerd, constantly picked on by the normal kids in school. When he receives a magic kit for his birthday, he finds a purpose in life, and a compatriot soul in Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi). Together, the two boys delve into the world of magic eventually landing a top gig on the Vegas strip, where they rule for over ten years. However the times are changing and a new demented magician is making a wave in the industry through his internet shows. Steve Gray (Carrey), elicits vomiting, gasps and a macabre following by using magic to mutilate himself. It’s not long before Gray and Wonderstone butt heads for magical supremacy. Unfortunately, their battle is a mere 10 min sequence in the film. Rounding out the cast are Olivia Wilde, James Gandolfini, Alan Arkin, Jay Mohr and David Copperfield.
KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:
- THE LOADING OF THE BODIES INTO THE VANS
- THE SEX SCENE
There’s simply too much talent on screen for this film to be so mediocre. Director Don Scardino was given an all star team, and fumbled the ball. “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” cost upwards of $30million to make. It must pray for a tremendous opening weekend, based on star power alone, because word of mouth will doom this flick to a slow and painful death in theatres.
THE GRADE FOR “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” = D
Fiore Mastracci is host and producer of OUTTAKES, the nation’s longest running film review program, who would love to see Jim Carrey, Steve Carrell and new daddy Steve Martin make a balls to the wall raucous comedy film.