2013 / Director. Don Scardino.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a fantastic idea, with a terrible execution and while it did pull a few laughs out of me, it was far more successful in extracting cringes. It tells the story of a world famous Las Vegas magician who's routine hasn't changed in 20 years and faces the challenges of reinventing his image to compete with a newer, more edgy brand of magic. It's essentially Siegfried & Roy VS Chris Angel. Jim Carrey plays the new hot-shot street magician with a popular webcast show and his act includes endurance and pain. This is a movie that should work. Set in a world with endless comical opportunities, it misses almost every mark and never fully embraces any of its concepts. It's horribly miscast too. Steve Carrell is awful and I found him painful to watch. Rather than playing the character seriously and allowing the situations to produce the humour, he hams it up in a woeful attempt at being funny. In his defence I'm sure the character was written this way, but being the comic genius that he is, he should have approached it differently. Jim Carrey is also miscast but still manages to deliver almost all of the movie's great moments. I would have preferred to see him as Burt, to be honest. Apparently the script had been floating around Hollywood for years with a heap of writers having tinkered with it along the way... that comes across, big time. The few positives I took from the movie, however, were (as I mentioned) Jim Carrey's performance as well as Alan Arkan's. Arkan is wonderful as the aged magician who inspired Burt as a kid. In the final act of the film Steve Carrell is able to lend some modesty to his character, which does relieve the movie of some of it's shortcomings but not enough to make it a good movie. What a shame, the possibilities were there for the taking!