Christopher Nolan's The Prestige has gotten a modern makeover. Hugh Jackman has been replaced by Steve Carell, and Christian Bale by Jim Carrey. Turn-of-the-century England has been transformed into 21st century Las Vegas, and the drama has been replaced with slapstick comedy. It's The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, and while the movie isn't incredible, it manages to pull a few laughs out of the hat.
Carell stars alongside Steve Buscemi as famous Vegas magician Burt Wonderstone who, after years of being on top has become stale, deluded and generally unpleasant to be around. But after his fans abandon him in favor of new-age street magicians such as Steve Gray (Carrey), Burt Wonderstone is forced to return to his roots and find the passion he once had. Helping him find the passion again? Olivia Wilde.
With her in mind, it shouldn't be that hard.
That's what she said.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is directed by Don Scardino, who has been doing TV movies and shows since the 1960's, and the screenwriters of Horrible Bosses, a movie that was funny but not as funny as it could have been. The same could be said about this movie, which is too episodic and inconsistent for its own good. Carell is decent but not used to his own potential - he seems as bored with the content as his character is with life - and Buscemi is criminally underutilized.
Jim Carrey is the biggest waste of talent. He's funny and insanely ridiculous like Jim Carrey should be, but the movie needed more of him to make his involvement worth the investment. Carrey and Carell really only get one major scene together, but it would have been great to see them sparring more often and going at each other's throats. No, not great. Necessary.... for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone to be incredible.
The movie isn't incredible, but it has enough laughs to make it worth a matinee showing. Carell is still enjoyable to watch and there are more than a few zany moments that evoke memories of Anchorman and other similar films. And to see Carrey back at it - even in a small way - is a blast.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a lighthearted and silly comedy that works more often than not. It's not Anchorman and it's a weak remake of The Prestige, but with a lack of quality comedies in theaters, Wonderstone delivers just enough magic.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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