After years of wild and impressive performances, Jim Carrey’s face on a movie poster gives audiences expectations for something original and fun. “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” unfortunately, underwhelms on those expectations.
Unlike his psychologically deep portrayal in “The Truman Show,” or his clowning ” The Mask,” this time he goes way beyond most actors’ comfort zones to create a truly insane and even barbaric character.
Carrey co-stars as Steve Gray, a parody of Criss Angel, a famous Vegas illusionist. The film also stars Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, James Gandolfini and Olivia Wilde.
The story is about a life-long friendship between Burt Wonderstone (Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Buscemi), Vegas celebrities nearing the end of their careers. Their act aged and Gray, a rising street star with a terrifying and dangerous stunts, takes over. Jane (Wilde), a talented and beautiful assistant tries to help the magician duo get back on the right track and put together a new show.
But Wonderstone’s ego hurts Marvelton and he leaves him behind and the partnership crumbles. After losing everything, Wonderstone finally finds the answers he’s looking for with a help of his childhood magic hero Rance Holloway, gracefully performed by Alan Arkin.
This comedy is filled with dark and sometimes a bit heavy humor, but doesn’t contain many memorable moments. The combination of three different comic geniuses such as Carell, Buscemi and Carrey didn’t seem to match very well, as it created an eclectic image that disturbs, but the same time produces a perfect reflection of the upsetting harshness of the Vegas world.
Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, writers for “Horrible Bosses” (2011), wrote a lackluster script. While there are many well-written jokes throughout the movie, unfortunately, they are spread out so much that audiences are not continuously laughing.
Director Don Scardino tries to the jump from television to movies and while he creates a dynamic movie, it is dragged down by too many unnecessary details.
“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” is not a movie for fine art and cinema lovers. Although at times it is funny, the movie overall is much like at the beginning of the movie when a young Wonderstone is left with a dry mix of his favorite cake mix. There is a good story, good ingredients, but, unfortunately, no one took the time to prepare it correctly.
The movie runs 100 minutes. It is rated PG-13 for sexual content, dangerous stunts, a drug-related incident and language.