The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a perfect example of how a completely funny and cheery film can come from a goofy and terrible trailer. When a film has a bad trailer it means one of two things: Either the studio purposefully made a not great trailer, so people would see the film and say “Oh it wasn’t that bad!” or the people who create the trailer portrayed the film incorrectly within a two-minute time slot.
Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) became friends at a young age over playing with Burt’s Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin) magic kit. The two grow-up to be superstar magicians headlining at Bally’s in Las Vegas. Their show has been running for over a decade and as Burt’s massive ego continues to grow, so does Anton’s loathing for him.
Bally’s owner Doug Munny (James Gandolfini) notices that Burt & Anton’s show has dropped dramatically in ticket sales. The two have been doing the same show since they’ve started, but there’s also a new star in town that performs on the streets in Vegas, Steve Gray (Jim Carrey). Steve banks on outrageous stunts versus true magic. His crazy stunts are too bizare and over-the-top to give away, but they will certainly make some of the faint of heart cringe!
Burt and Anton attempt to do an outrageous stunt, much like something Steve would do, but it fails horribly and causes the magical duo to break up. Burt hasn’t saved a dime over his career, spending it on dumb things like $70,000 bed sheets, so he is kicked out of his Bally suite and forced to start a new life. It turns out that without a Vegas headline it’s pretty hard to find work as a magician.
What makes Burt Wonderstone an original comedy is that you are rooting for Carell’s character throughout the film and find yourself wanting to know what is going to happen to him next. How is this magician going to make his way to the top again?
It’s no secret that Steve Carell is a comedic genius, but underneath all the jokes and laughs, he’s also a damn good actor. Carell leads the film wonderfully from start to finish and his character arc is amusing and engaging to watch.
Jim Carrey also does wonderful work here. The actor has made his living with physical comedy and if you loved him in Liar Liar or Yes Man, you will love him in Burt Wonderstone. The “tricks” his character performs are shocking and hilarious.
What a wonderful role for the talented Alan Arkin. Arkin plays famous magician Rance Holloway, who Burt looked up to as a child. Arkin and Carell’s scenes are some of the best in the film and the two have wonderful chemistry.
Burt Wonderstone is a comedic and mystical escape for a moviegoer’s trip to the theatre. Trust me, you’ll be just as surprised as I was.