Although hardly the perfect comedy, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone still has plenty of laughs going for it. Steve Carell is more or less Michael Scott, and any other character he’s played in his other comedic efforts, but the supporting cast gives good performances and I for one managed to laugh more than a few times and was all around amused by the film.
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 100 min. – $35.99 | June 25, 2013
Directed by: Don Scardino
Writer(s): Chad Kultgen & Tyler Mitchell and Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley (story), Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley (screenplay)
Cast: Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini, Jim Carrey
Theatrical Release Date: March 15, 2013
Features: Featurettes, Deleted Scene, Alternate Takes, Gag Reel, DVD Copy, UltraViolet
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 24.6 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 3.5/5
As a young boy, Albert was taunted by other kids and didn’t have any friends. One year he receives a magic kit by master magician Rance Holloway (ALAN ARKIN) for his birthday and soon he was enamored with the tricks which caught the eye of classmate Anthony. The pair would become instant friends. Some years later, a grown up and professional magicians Burt Wonderstone (STEVE CARELL) and Anton Marvelton (STEVE BUSCEMI) receive a headline gig at the Bally’s Casino in Las Vegas. Their act receives nightly sold out crowds.
However, fast forward 10 years of doing the same performance and their act has worn thin. The theater isn’t filling up quite as much and the relationship between Burt and Anton has waned. Also adding to the rift is Burt’s ego which has gotten the better of him over the years which had led to the resignation of several female assistants which one night led to production assistant Jane (OLIVIA WILDE) to come on stage at the last minute.
The magic world has seemingly moved on when Burt and Anton encounter on-the-rise street magician Steve Gray (JIM CARREY) who performs grotesque stunts, like pulling a card from an opened cheek wound, much to the disgust and yet wonderment of the numerous crowds which flock to see him.
Seeing what the people want – and that Wonderstone’s act has gotten old – the Bally’s manager, Doug Munny (JAMES GANDOLFINI – R.I.P.), strongly suggests updating their act, which Anton agrees with. Resisting every step of the way, Burt participates in a stunt where he and Anton would sit in a plexi-box in the middle of the Las Vegas heat but a short time in, and thanks to no rehearsing, Burt goes berserk inside. Soon after, they’re fired, sending Burt out of his comfortable casino suite to a second rate motel.
With Anton off spreading magic to the starving populations in third world countries, needing work, Burt takes a job doing magic tricks at a retirement home where he meets his idol, Rance Holloway, now much older and retired from performing magic. Through Rance, Burt re-learns the meaning of magic and decides to get back in the game, re-unites with Anton and ultimately must face off against the insane Steve Gray to get a prestigious gig at Munny’s new casino resort.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is an incredibly uneven comedy and yet despite that, I found myself laughing more than sitting in my chair in utter silence and distress (see Movie 43). In terms of the casting, Steve Carell more or less plays his Michael Scott character from “The Office” with some obnoxiousness, idiocy and childlike wonderment but now all in the stretch of a feature film. One already knows beforehand that his character would transition from being an idiot, not to mention misogynist, and an annoyance with the audience to somebody with higher values by the end and at the very least Burt isn’t nearly as insufferable as Carrey’s Steve Gray…
The supporting player were well cast and do fine especially set against somebody as vibrant and over-the-top top as Carell. Steve Buscemi is a delight as Anton providing the heart of the film but also shares some wonderful comedic chemistry with Carell; Olivia Wilde doesn’t have a whole heck of a lot to do but she has a couple notable scenes especially in the third act; Alan Arkin plays his typical small but not insignificant role; and Jim Carrey is disgustingly funny as the primary antagonist albeit it is a weak villain.
The film was directed by Don Scardino, from a story and/or screenplay by Chad Kultgen, Tyler Mitchell, Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (the latter two writers of Horrible Bosses and the potential Vacation remake/reboot/sequel). As I stated earlier, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is an often funny movie, outrageously so at the end (laughed my ass off), but it’s also inconsistent and muddled with its focus. It’s also relatively safe even for a PG-13 rating with some typical sexual content/innuendo.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5
This release comes with an extra glossy slip cover. Inside are a standard DVD Copy and download code for the UltraViolet Digital Copy.
Steve Gray UNCUT (8:33; HD) is a parody video with Carrey, playing Steve Gray, talking about his style of magic. Some of the footage is culled from what is seen in the movie but from different angles.
Making Movie Magic with David Copperfield (8:03; HD) is an interview with Copperfield chatting about helping with some of the tricks, including the Hangman effect. He apparently had numerous cameos throughout the movie were ultimately cut.
Gag Reel (4:08; HD) contains your usual on-set flubs which is numerous with a cast like this.
Deleted Scenes & Alternate Takes (26:23; HD) are the scenes that didn’t make it into the final cut and probably for the better as none of these are of particular import to the plot.
Preview – Jack the Giant Slayer
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Warner Brothers releases The Incredible Burt Wonderstone onto Blu-ray presented in 1080p high-def and its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio. Like other new releases, this does look very good in HD from the well defined detail levels to the color array which seems nicely balanced. Because this is a comedy, it is a brighter transfer so it does pop off the screen but even the darkly-lit scenes don’t show off any flaws and has nice starkness to them.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track isn’t spectacular but it gets the job done. The vast majority of the movie is dialogue a bulk of the action takes place via the center channel while other parts, ambient noises and music, making the most of the front and rear speakers. While it won’t exactly wow you, it’s more than serviceable for the genre.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Overall, although hardly the perfect comedy, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone still has plenty of laughs going for it. Steve Carell is more or less Michael Scott, and any other character he’s played in his other comedic efforts, but the supporting cast gives good performances and I for one managed to laugh more than a few times and was all around amused by the film.
The Blu-ray here isn’t anything extraordinary with an acceptable audio, excellent video and some basic features that aren’t worth more than one viewing.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.