MRR Review: "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone"

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Directed by Don Scardino, this 2013 comedy film follows its title character, a longtime Las Vegas magician and fan favorite (played by Steve Carell), as he attempts to reunite with his former partner, Anton Lovecraft (Steve Buscemi), to take on a new and dangerous rival--a street magician by the name of Steve Gray (Jim Carrey).
3.5

MRR Review: "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone"

-- Rating: PG-13
Length: 100 minutes
Release Date: Mar. 15, 2013
Directed By: Don Scardino
Genre: Comedy

"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" combines a star-studded cast, goofy antics, slapstick jokes, and a little bit of heart as it weaves a tale of failure, success, and long-term friendships. Although the movie initially received mixed reviews from the critics, audiences seemed to enjoy the film, and "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" grossed more than $10 million during its opening weekend.

The story begins in 1982 when a young Burt Wonderstone (Mason Cook) is given a magic set by his mother to take his mind off of the bullying he has been subject to. The set, which was given to him for his birthday, is from veteran magician and Wonderstone's idol Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin). Burt indulges in his passion for magic with friend Anton (Luke Vanek), and they both decide to become magicians.

Twenty years later, a grown-up Burt (Steve Carell) and Anton (Steve Buscemi) have become a very successful magic act at the Aztec Casino in Las Vegas. Their success starts to falter, however, when Anton gets fed up with Burt's ego and the stunts performed by up-and-coming street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) threaten to make them obsolete. The pair decide to beat Gray at his own game by performing a stunt where they hang over the street in a plastic cage. The stunt fails. Anton is seriously injured, and he decides that it's time to break up the act.

Anton decides to head to Cambodia to hand out magic sets in impoverished communities, while Burt lands a job at an assisted-living facility for ex-Las Vegas headliners. In an amazing twist of fate, ex-magician Rance Holloway is a resident of the facility, and the two decide to make a comeback.

Millionaire Doug Munny (James Gandolfini) has plans to open a new casino and hotel in Las Vegas. He arranges a talent show for the venue's opening night and offers a five-year magic show contract to the winner. Although Holloway is too ill to participate, Anton and Burt team up and decide to take their chances. Gray, who also participates in the talent search, has a malfunction during his set that injures him. Burt and Anton rediscover their friendship and their love of magic and wind up winning the prize.

In addition to the lead roles, there is a host of other celebrity talent in the movie. Jay Mohr plays Rick the Implausible, Brad Garrett plays the role of Dom, and Richard Wolffe, Erin Burnett, and David Copperfield play themselves.

After a six-year stint with the hit television show "The Office," Steve Carell was more than ready to take on the role of Burt Wonderstone. Carell is not new to the silver screen, however, and has played characters in several hit movies, including "Bruce Almighty," "Little Miss Sunshine," "Bewitched," and "The 40 Year Old Virgin." It was his role as Michael in "The Office" that cemented his place in the hearts of Americans, and it was also responsible for several of his awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series. His portrayal of Andy in "The 40 Year Old Virgin" was responsible for his MTV Movie Award win for Best Comedic Performance.

With his dry humor and formidable appearance, Steve Buscemi makes the perfect partner to play off of Carell. Buscemi, who has been acting since 1985, took Hollywood by storm almost from the beginning, and was quickly sought after for many supporting roles. By 2013, Buscemi was the recipient of 24 awards, including a Golden Globe for his portrayal as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson in the television series "Boardwalk Empire," and he had racked up an additional 36 award nominations.

Jim Carrey, as usual, gave an outstanding performance in his slapstick stunt-filled style as Steve Gray. Carrey, who has had an incredible film career, is the recipient of two Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture for his roles in "The Truman Show" and "Man on the Moon." He has also received 39 other awards and an astounding 65 award nominations. Audiences will remember Carrey for his roles in smash hits such as "The Mask," "Dumb and Dumber," "Liar Liar," "The Cable Guy," "Me, Myself and Irene," and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Director Don Scardino came on board with the film after Charles McDougall left the project, but that doesn't mean he was second best. Scardino did a fabulous job in bringing this film to life, showcasing the comedic talent of the cast, and weaving a complex tale of friendship.

"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" is a must-see film for anyone who needs a good laugh at the hands of some of Hollywood's best comedic actors. With the talent in this cast, it was inevitable that the movie would be a success.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars