Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
Little Albert has a difficult life.  He's small, kids pick on him all the time, and he has the tendency to whimper when he's sad.  But today is a good day for little Albert as his absentee mom has brought him a magic kit for his birthday, sponsored by the amazing Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin) and it's changed his life as well as the life of his new best friend Anton.  It didn't change their childhood's as both of these little dudes probably got mercilessly pummeled all the way through high school, but boy… did it change their adulthood.  And thus the tale of 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone' begins.

The years have passed and they have been quite lucrative for Burt (Steve Carell) and Anton (Steve Buscemi), whose magic show is now headlining at Bally's under the watchful eye of the Casino mogul Doug (James Gandolfini).  Unfortunately the friendship is strained as Burt has become basically the same person that used to pick on him when he was a kid.  He's nonchalant about the show, he's rude to his friend, he sleeps around and he's just not all that great a person.

Maybe the new addition of a hot young assistant in Jane (Olivia Wilde) will bring Burt around, but no, even though the fledgling magician Jane has idolized Burt for years, it took Burt all of two minutes to ruin all of that. 

More trouble is on the horizon for Burt and Anton in the form new age magician Steve Gray, played by Jim Carey, who we gotta say was straight up killing it in this movie.  As far as we can see, Steve Gray isn't really much of a magician as he does stuff like cut himself and sleep on hot coals, but he does look to be the future of magic.  Worse still is that Steve makes Burt and Anton's show seem old and dated.  Not helped at all by the fact they open
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their show with 'Abracadabra', largely considered Steve Miller's worst song… not buy us here at the FCU, but by some.  Anton does have an idea to help them compete with the Steve Grey's of the world, but it doesn't work, best friends are no more, Burt no longer headlines at Bally's and life is sad for Burt Wonderstone.

But not so fast my friends!  Sure Burt is homeless as he has squandered all of his cash, and he is still a bit of a jerk, but absolution is just around the corner.  He takes a gig a nursing home, and who's there?  Why a super old Rance Holloway who puts Burt back in his place, helping him to remember what made magic magical.  Not only that, the hot assistant is seeing him in a new light.  Sure Burt is old enough to be her dad, but we're all legal here, and that's what's really important.  Even Anton is back as true friendship can never be erased by rampant assholery.   These magical people just need one big break to get back on top.  And like a sports movie with a last second shot, we got a magical movie with a last second super trick. 

Okay my friends, here's the issue that we saw as the problem with director Don Scardino's 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone'…  It's just not stupid enough.  I mean it's kind of stupid, but you're going into this movie thinking you're about to watch a farce, and it is a farce… but then it's not a farce.  Apparently they call this 'tonal inconsistency' in the critical circles.  In fact, so inconsistent 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone' was, most of the actors all seemed to be acting in a different kind of movie.  Jim Carey got the memo that this was to be farce and shouldn't be taken seriously at all.  Steve Carell however was locked into a fairly standard comedy, where Olivia Wilde was in a Romantic Comedy.  Steve Buscemi and Alan Arkin seemed to be going with whatever the flow happened to be at that given time.  Tonal Inconsistency I hear they call it.

That being said, of course 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone' had its moments.  No doubt, there were some really funny bits in this movie, and not all of them involved Jim Carey who did everything in his power to steal this movie.  Most of the humor was front loaded, except for the one gag at the end when they showed us how Burt and Anton pulled off their great trick to close the show.  But there was a humor gap there as the movie went from semi-farciful to… heck… I guess we can call it RomCom Road to Redemption mode.  Who wants to see that?  It didn't help that Steve Carell's transition from jerk-off to sympathetic hero didn't actually happen.  Or let's just say it wasn't a gradual character progression, thus we were kind of still rooting for a jerk, because the script called for us to do this.

All we're saying is that while 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone' had its funny moments, it looked as if it should've been a whole lot funnier with just a touch more focus on being more stupid.  But what do I know?  I'm just some cat who watches way too many movies.
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