Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus wishes this one was more magical but it still has a little sparkle...
When ticket sales for double act Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi)'s Las Vegas stage show begin to dwindle due to new extreme illusionist and rival Steve Gray (Carrey), the duo pull out all the stops trying to find a new big trick. With the magical pair splitting under the strain, Burt without a partner or a job befriends the magician who inspired him as a child, Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin) and slowly rediscovers his passion for magic.
The Incredible Burt Wondertone feels much more akin to a Will Ferrell comedy vehicle and for at least half the movie, Steve Carell feels like he's playing a little too hard against type within his arrogant magician ways. Sadly Carell doesn't do mean, oblivious and arrogant quite as enjoyably as Ferrell has mastered and while there's still a fair share of enjoyable one liners, the biggest chuckles in the first act of this comedy comes from the hammy magic acts.
Burt and Anton's performances to the 'Abracadabra' theme song for their show is consistently funny and the scenes both celebrate and ridicule the over dramatic and fake showmanship that comes with Vegas style magic with just the right tone.
There's also a great supporting cast here. I've grown to adore Oliva Wilde over the past couple of years and she's pretty enjoyable here in her largely thankless roll. Sure she's doing the same old female co-star role Jennifer Aniston has forged a career on for about a decade but she adds her own thing to it enough to make it cute, even if its not quite as an enjoyable a 'thing' as she graced us with with her sheer awesomeness in Butter last year.
And then there's Jim Carrey. I love Jim in well, everything (well maybe everything other than The Number 23). Every line and mannerism he throws at us in his extreme magician cameo role is fantastic. His over the top craziness is hilarious right up to his drill in the head final trick. This is Jim at his madcap best and without the weight of the story resting on his shoulders he can really go to town in this classic Jim performance. He's the best bad guy this film could have asked for and sends up these extreme street illusionists really well.
Of course not all of these elements quite gel together as well I'd want them to. There's a good thirty minutes in the middle of the movie that's pretty tired because you know exactly where everything is heading. There's still a fair share of chuckles as Burt and Anton begin to fall apart but its not really until the now retired Rance Holloway turns up and Steve Carell gets to play the more likable hapless good guy we love him for that the story starts getting interesting again.
Arkin also gives it his all here and his grumbling old magician hits all the right notes. He also delivers my favorite line in the film “Is this what they call magic nowadays? This is some kind of terrible shit" just tickled me on both viewings and he comes with a whole host of other great lines about the state of modern magic as well.
Anyway, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone isn't so incredible but it doesn't make it any less entertaining. The cast elevate this above the fairly tired plot, as is the case with a lot of modern mainstream comedies it seems but I have to say, despite my luke warm feelings to the film as a whole I probably laughed at moments in here more than I have for a lot of comedies lately. In fact, the final illusion's big reveal really left the movie on a chucklesome high.
This pretty standard looking DVD is bright, cheerful and very much like any other mainstream modern comedy looks. Skin tones are tanned throughout and everyone has a healthy glow, sunlight is bright, sets are warmly lit and even even with the limits of DVD the darker magical set pieces still manage to glow off the screen with the right amount of showbiz glitter.
Dialogue is crystal clear throughout the film and the accompanying score and light feel good songs on the soundtrack offer up a punchy full sounding extra element. Its all pretty standard stuff and has only the rare slightly boosted moments revolving about louder elements in the magic shows or audience cheers really.
The disc probably deserved more but all we get is an Ultravilot digital viewing and an amusing 'Gag Reel' (03:58).
Magic is a subject matter ripe for ridicule but The Incredible Burt Wonderstone just doesn't quite take full advantage of the opportunities. The cast all do what they're loved for, the film has its fair share of laughs but overall it just doesn't quite all come together as some might have hoped it would with the combination of all this talent. I have to say, the film seems to get funnier on repeat viewings and I for one could easily find myself caught in another re-watch given the right situation. The DVD is bog standard in image and audio departments but is way too thin on extras, even if the gag reel was a ton of fun.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 29th July 2013
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Stereo 2.0 English, English descriptive Narration
Subtitles: Englsih, French, Dutch
Extras: Gag Reel
Easter Egg: No
Director: Don Scardino
Cast: Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey, Olivia Wilde, James Gandolfini,
Length: 96 minutes
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