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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

March 12th, 2013 by Big Phil Comments


The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (15)
Directed by: Don Scardino
Starring: Steve Carell, Luke Vanek and Jim Carrey
Running time: 100 mins
Released: March 15th (UK)

When a street magician’s stunt begins to make their show look stale, superstar magicians Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton look to salvage on their act – and their friendship – by staging their own daring stunt.

Burt Wonderstone (Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Buscemi) have been best friends since they were children. Since they first met each other, they have been perfecting their magic tricks, starting off small from a box of magic tricks supplied by the incredibly famous Rance Holloway, they have been headlining Las Vegas for over ten years.

Whilst performing their fading, unchanging act they can’t help but notice the flamboyant Steve Gray (Carrey); a popular street “magician” whose stunts and television show are paving a new way in the 21st Century. Will the duo patch up their publicly hidden differences and claim the top spot in Las Vegas, or will Steve Gray and his ever more endangering stunts pull the magic carpet from under them?

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a laugh out loud film that literally pokes fun at all the fake showbiz, false tans with cheesy smiles, “whose magic trick is best” in the world of top showbiz magic.

We have the glamorous “in it for the money and the ladies” Burt Wonderstone, played cheesingly well by Steve Carell, who as a magician has fallen out of love with his profession. After a very public fall-out with his partner Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) who is a complete opposite in his caring and childlike nature, Burt loses everything and slowly re-builds his act and self esteem thanks to a chance encounter with his childhood idol Rance Holloway, played by Alan Arkin.

The plot is very simple but packed with many laughable moments, most of which are provided by Jim Carrey; a character clearly inspired by the stunts of David Blaine, with each one becoming more incredible and dangerous, not to mention in some cases suicidal, than the last.

The magic segments, intentionally cheesy and, in some cases un-realistic, only add to the charm and style of the film. Indeed this is in part an homage to those holiday specials with television magicians in the 1980s and 90s, whose elaborate illusions were matched only by the glamorous beauty of the female assistants and the hideous faux velvet costumes and mullet style hair pieces worn by the magicians themselves.

The script is very witty and the pace is fast. Indeed the running time may seem a little short however this adds to the feel of the film in that its great to watch a magic show for a little while, but the audience doesn’t get bored enough to leave before the doves are released from the trap door.

A laughable film that is just perfect after the high dramas of the awards season.

4 out of 5 Nerds

Ps. I’m a sucker for a glamorous lady disappearing before my eyes!

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I arrived on Earth in 1977 and have virtually devoted my entire existence to cult films, television programmes and cartoons. I am a very big fan of Star Wars and Star Trek; I may struggle with foreign languages but I can order live Gagh in Klingon! I’m the Nerd that knows the trivia but I’m hopeless at sport!

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