Monday, March 18, 2013

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone Review

It's been a while since Steve Carell and Jim Carrey co-starred in a major motion picture. The last time it happened was back in 2008 with Horton Hears a Who. In terms of a live action movie, it's been since Bruce Almighty, which was a decade ago. Now Steve Carell has shown up in several things lately, but Jim Carrey seems to be slowing things down a bit as he turned 51 in January. His last movie was back in 2011 when he starred in Mr. Popper's Penguins. But after a long hiatus, the two comedy stars are back at it with The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, which premiered just this past weekend. This actually wasn't a hugely advertised movie as I didn't hear much about it until last month really, but the draw of Carell and Carrey teaming up again in a comedy was enough to draw me in. I had decently high hopes for it, mainly because I'm a pretty big fan of Jim Carrey as I really enjoy his other movies like Yes Man, Liar Liar, The Truman Show, and The Grinch. However, after walking into the theater excited to see another funny Jim Carrey comedy, I actually walked out of the theater rather disappointed. The incredible Burt Wonderstone is far from incredible. In fact, if you just decide to skip it, you won't be missing much.

I went into this movie thinking it was going to be a Carell vs Carrey movie as that is how it is portrayed in the trailers and advertisements. I quickly realized that I was very wrong. Carrey is the big antagonist in the movie, but his role is surprisingly limited. This is all about Steve Carell. And quite honestly he does a putrid job in this movie. To be fair, he isn't given much to work with, but yet neither was anyone in this movie and Carell's flat performance as the lead role of Burt Wonderstone was really what sends this movie spiraling in a nosedive. Now what is it about?  Decent premise. Burt Wonderstone was bullied as a kid, but quickly falls in love with magic and finds a friend in Anton Marvelton that becomes his partner in magic. Wonderstone and Marvelton are actually their stage names, but I forget what their given last names are in the movie, so I am just going with those for now.  Anywho, thirty years after the two kids fell in love with magic, they are the big names in the magic business. However, Burt lets the fame get to his head and this leads to a falling out that is worsened by new comedy hot shot Steve Grey, played by Jim Carrey. Now Wonderstone needs to somehow get things back together or else he is going to slip into nothing as far as his personal life and his career. 

Problem with the movie? Well there is a lot. Starting off, the plot is nothing magical. In fact it is very unoriginal and predictable. To go along with that, the script is really awful. They brought some pretty big name actors, not just Carell and Carrey but also Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin, and James Gandolfini, but they gave them hardly anything to work with. The big issue lies when about half of these people take the poorly written script and make the best of it while the other half completely drops the ball. Specifically, Jim Carrey, Olivia Wilde, and Alan Arkin all do a great job with their poor script while Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, and James Gandolfini are just embarrassing to watch. The odd mix of bad and good acting just make this a confusing movie to watch. Jim Carrey is good, but he's given the role of the sadistic idiot who likes hurting himself to attract crowds and even so he is underused by a lot. I swear it only feels like he's in the movie for a total of 15 or 20 minutes. Olivia Wilde is fantastic. Most people watch her because she is gorgeous. I watch her because she always does a great acting job. However, she feels out of place in this movie because her character likes being around the pathetic duo of Carell and Buscemi. Ten minutes into her part of the movie you are wondering why she doesn't break off from those two and just do her own thing. Alan Arkin does good, but he plays the old crazy man and in addition to also being underused, you wonder why he even helps Burt Wonderstone work up his magic again. And James Gandolfini, well, his character is just completely useless. And so is he because he does a bad job of playing a worthless character.

Finally, this movie is supposed to be a comedy. And I can see that they tried really hard to make this funny, but I just didn't really find it funny at all. I mean, I chuckled a few times, but that was really it. One problem is that all the potentially really funny scenes were all in the trailer, so when they showed up in the movie I wasn't as amused. The other thing is that a big portion of the humor is sexual humor. I mean, an out of place argument leads to the assistant quitting, so they randomly grab Olivia Wilde to replace her. Olivia Wilde has been introduced to the movie for less than thirty seconds when her shirt is ripped off and an assistant outfit is placed on her and she is immediately put into a box with Steve Carell and he spends like a full minute begging to have sex with her that night. Really? That's not funny, that's just dumb. I went in wanting some good comedy and I didn't get it, so I left the theater feeling gypped. Overall this just an all around forgettable movie. I usually recommend you wait and red box it or something, but in this case I am just going to recommend that you just skip it. I am giving the movie a 5 out of 10 and that even feels a bit generous.

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