Movie Review: The Hilarious Burt Wonderstone

Watching The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is like

watching a magic show:  you won’t believe your eyes.

The-Incredible-Burt-Wonderstone_082013 | 100 minutes | Dir. Don Scardino | Warner Bros. Pictures

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone takes the concept of dueling magicians to a whole new level.  Steves Carell and Buscemi star as Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton, magical friends with a popular show at Bally’s Las Vegas.  After over 10 years, Burt (Carell) has grown tired of his schtick and become a raging asshole.  Street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) threatens the pair’s career.  In an attempt to amp up their image, Anton (Buscemi) falls from a suspended plastic box and breaks both his ankles, leaving Burt jobless, homeless, and hopeless.  With a little help from his former idol Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin) and aspiring girl magician Jane (Olivia Wilde), Burt re-discovers the magic of performing magic.


What makes Burt so entertaining are the unbelievable gags passed off as magic tricks.  Jim Carrey’s character has a cable show and goes by “Brain Rapist”, a clear knock off Chriss Angel’s “MindFreak”.  His magic tricks include cutting a folded- up playing card out of a welt in his face, sleeping overnight on burning hot coals and withholding urine for longer than humanly possible. Carey’s long obre hair and chain tattoos serve as the perfect foil to Burt’s feathered hair and bedazzled velvet suit.  It’s funny because you know Jim Carey’s character is spoofing daredevil magicians like Chriss Angel and even David Copperfield, who makes a cameo, but if you didn’t know that, you might find the Brain Rapist pretty offensive.


Burt and Anton’s final trick, which they perform to impress their former boss, will also leave you stunned.  The film’s finale will have you dazzled with wonder one minute and howling with disgust the next.  I won’t tell you what Burt and Anton do, but it’s a real showstopper.


That said, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, like any magic show, is good for just about one round.  After that, the jokes get less funny, the tricks get less shocking, and the jabs at women and ugly people get more offensive.  I can definitely understand why people didn’t like Burt Wonderstone– in many ways, it’s a very offensive movie.  But for people familiar with show business, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone perfectly spoofs the pratfalls and realities of entertainment.  People living in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York might enjoy the film more than people living in the Midwest.


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