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"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" Review

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone came and went with little critical (a paltry 35% RT score) and commercial (only $22.5 million) notice despite having Steve Carell and Jim Carrey in the cast. While not a comedy classic, it's a decently entertaining little flick.

Carell is the titular Wonderstone who has been resident at Bally's in Las Vegas for a decade with his childhood bestie played by Steve Buscemi. Their act is cheesy and losing audience and Burt is an egomaniacal jerk who beds comely female fans (illustrated by Community's Gillian Jacobs) while sporting enough bronzer to coat those giant Oscars you see outside the Kodak Theater. Pressured by a hot street magician (Carrey taking the piss out of David Blaine and Kris Angel), the pair attempt their own Xtreme stunt with spectacular failure, splitting the pair and sending Burt hunting for redemption.

The reviews were pretty lethal, so I was surprised that it was actually LOL funny in spots and not totally drenched with pathos and formulaic tropes, especially when he connects with the magician who inspired him as a boy, played by Alan Arkin. While the terrain is familiar, the path taken is off the usual paved areas. I think some were offended by just how crass Burt is, but Carell manages to make him not totally reprehensible. (Maybe some people are wimps, like the one critic who whined about the massive illegality of their comeback trick.) Carrey's character is literally nuts and not really doing "magic" so what happens to him makes sense.

With good supporting performances from Arkin, Buscemi, Olivia Wilde (as their long-suffering assistant) and James Gandolfini (the casino owner), while The Incredible Burt Wonderstone may not be totally "incredible," it's above-average and worth a watch.

Score: 7/10. Catch it on cable.


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