Movie Review: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

IMDB, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” on IMDB

Comedy, 100 Minutes, 2013

I have no idea what happened here.  The cast was amazing: Steve Carell [IMDB], Steve Buscemi [IMDB], Olivia Wilde [IMDB], Jim Carrey [IMDB], James Gandolfini [IMDB] in one of his last roles, and Alan Arkin [IMDB].  Director Don Scardino [IMDB] may be new to feature films, but he has had an incredible presence in television.  How could this fail?!

I don’t know; but it did.

Actually “fail” may be a big word to use here.  The movie didn’t so much fail as simply collapse slowly and sadly under a gelatinous mass of dullness and boredom.  I could actually feel my traitorous body falling asleep from under me as I watched.

I’m a huge fan of traditional Vegas-style stage magic.  Penn and Teller, Lance Burton, David Copperfield: they’re great. I really thought this story about a jaded magic-geek battling the onslaught of stunt- and street-magic and being reintroduced to his original love of the art would be good.  At worst, I thought it might end up one of those quirky movies so invested in its selected niche that it would lose mass-market appeal.

I really never expected, especially with this cast, that it would just end up so dreadfully, drearily slow.  There was literally no laughter in the room as we watched this.  Well, not until the end credits at least.  There they did some “behind the scenes” footage of the big trick that was pretty inspired.  So my recommendation is just to fast forward to the end credits.


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  1. If you’re a Jim Carrey fan, you should at least see this movie once, but I wouldn’t suggest rushing out to see this movie in theaters. Good review Jim.

    1. My opinion on Jim Carrey tends to wander. He seems best, I think, when he’s allowed to just play himself (“The Truman Show” or “Bruce Almighty”) or where he’s allowed to completely and totally immerse himself underneath a character (“The Mask” or “Man on the Moon”).

      I know they’re popular but I find him less attractive in the wacky roles like this one (or “Ace Ventura” or “Me, Myself and Irene”). It’s not that they’re bad (although some of them really, really are) but they seem off-the-shelf to me. Sort of rote. I don’t know, maybe it’s just that he seems to be trying too hard when many of his other roles seem effortless.

      My big problem with him here is just that they made him so terribly, completely unlikable! His character is really just an odious person – but importantly so is Steve Carel’s (at least at first). I think the script bit off a little too much both trying to make a villain out of Carrey and pulling of Carel’s character growth.

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