Saturday Movies: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)

So another one of the flops this year was The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. It still has yet to earn back the budget it took to make it. The thing is with all the bad reviews I wasn’t expecting to like it, but I found it to be one of the funniest movies I have watched. I like how the humor is something that has to be well placed instead of easy to access dirty jokes. Actually, this movie relies on humor you don’t find movies relying on too much these days. There is also something a bit satirical about the movie and the way it mocks some of the most popular magician acts. Maybe all this spelled disaster when the movie had a few bits where it tried to take itself seriously, but overall it was a nice surprise to watch.

Summary: When street magician, Steve Gray, arrives on the streets of Las Vegas to show his tricks to people he becomes an instant hit, and makes Burt Wonderstone and his partner, Anton Marvelton, look a bit outdated and their magic not so spectacular. Not the two must update their act and try to salvage their friendship if they want to continue being magicians for much longer. This is going to leave them trying new stunts that just don’t quite fit.

Acting: If there is one stand out performance in the movie it is Jim Carey as Steve Gray. I think in a lot of ways he is the only reason the movie does have the funny moments it does. He never takes himself too seriously, and I think had all the characters been playing their characters as he did then the movie would have went over well. Steve Carell is Burt Wonderstone. I think Carell has some funny moments, but then there are other times he seems to think he is in one of his serious indie comedy movies and he gets sentimental. It adds a cheesy element to the movie that just doesn’t need to be there. It seems like the romantic part between him and Jane (Olivia Wilde) was forced as well. Steve Buscemi is a bit better as Anton, because I felt he didn’t force in this odd sentimental element to the movie in a comedy that seemed more screwball or satire in nature in at times. There is also Alan Arkin who stretches his comedic acting chops quite well in the movie as the older magician, Rance Holloway.

Filming: The movie I think captures the essence of the magic well and preserves the element of comedy well. Some of the better pieced together scenes are the ones where it shows Steve Gray doing insane stuff to get attention. Like when he throws a fireball at someone. While Carey does make it funny with the tone of this voice and the way he says it, there is an extra funniness added just by how quickly the camera moves to catch the action. This also happens with several other scenes.

Plot: From the moment this movie came on I found it funny. I really did not expect to laugh out loud like I did when watching. The jokes are just smoothly written in, like when a younger Burt is revealed to have gotten into magic on his birthday. The piece where he finds a cake he has to make himself though was just funny. The movie sets itself up to be this type of humor though, and where it fails in some spots is when Burt gets sentimental. I understand a personality change was needed. No one wants a guy to be a jerk the whole through and make a come back while not having learned anything. He was an arrogant, womanizer, who did poor magic tricks. By the end of the short movie though he is a humble, creative, one woman man, and it’s just a really huge change that would have been better with more minor treatment. I couldn’t help but also be discontent anytime Steve Gray was off screen. I just wanted more about him! His scenes were hilarious. The plot is funny and I honestly liked how it strayed from showing graphic nudity or telling a bunch of old dirty jokes. It still proves movies can be good comedy without that.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a movie you don’t have to worry too much about seeing around your family as it doesn’t have too much awkward humor, and if you were like me and grew up in the 90’s when this type of magic was huge it somehow makes it that much more funny. The actors for the most are really good in their roles, and it shows that Jim Carey still has it.

Rating 8 of 10.

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