<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Don Scardino. Starring Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey, Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini, Olivia Wilde, Jay Mohr
Didn’t manage to review this film earlier but went and saw it with a friend and both of us with the scantily-occupied theatre laughed till we were in splits.
I have no idea why this film has gotten bad reviews and very little publicity. On Rotten Tomatoes, 39% is the critics’ rating but the audience give it a 63%. Maybe that’s an indication if you go watch as an audience with friends and not sitting in a preview theatre with some pretentious know-it-alls! Okay, no offense to my reviewing colleagues. It should be okay; I said ‘No Offense’! Watch the movie and you’ll get it…
It’s the story of how two kids Albert and Anthony strike up a friendship over a box of magic tricks from the ‘original’ magician Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin). The cute kids then grow up into relatively average-looking adults Burt (Steve Carell) and Anton (Steve Buscemi) who take their magical friendship act to Las Vegas and go on to headline at the famous Bally’s Resort owned by Doug Munny (James Gandolfini). Burt likes ‘doing’ his magicians’ assistants but the latest one – Jane (Olivia Wilde), Burt calls them all Nicole – refuses to give in to his less than magical attempts to woo her. Well for half the movie at least.
But alas, there lurks a darker magic in the wings. The great Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), Brain Rapist uses his gothic powers to conjure up bloodied playing cards from a slit in his cheek and levitates out of bars to wow the audience on the streets. Sound familiar? Yup, they’re making shit ass fun of Criss Angel Mindfreak who will be far from pleased after watching this film. Funny thing: Jane chastises Steve Gray at a kids’ birthday party and tells him that the kids will copy his dangerous stunts. His reply: “I’ll sue them!”
Let me tell you I have not laughed so much in a film in a very, very long time. And so consistently too. And my friend, she was laughing too. And the people behind us were laughing. Oh the boring couple in the corner weren’t but maybe they were a bit English challenged!
The way Steve Carell has carried his almost Liberace-like magician throughout the film is what’s amazing. He doesn’t falter a bit. And hey, Jim Carrey dudes! The guys in the back seats were: “Welcome back man!” and I hear you. We miss the comedian contortionist and here you have him in all his face twisting, eyeball squinting, and body contorting glory. Steve Buscemi is the greatest, so I won’t even deign to comment on his performance.
They’ve even thrown in parodies of comedians that have played Las Vegas like Siegfried and Roy and tigers that maul them because they’re jealous! There’s also a special appearance by Hollywood Walk of Fame Star recipient and ace veteran magician David Copperfield.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is comedy at its best, with a hint of emotion and eternal friendship, some wonderful performances and excellent comic timing. If you need a great laugh out loud that cleanses your system then go watch it today.