The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is short on laughs
Starring Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, and Jim Carrey. Rated PG. Now playing
Well, the tiger guy was funny. This seems like a good place to begin discussing The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, if only because we were brought up to always say something nice first. And maybe this comedy about Las Vegas magicians would have worked if Burt had a pair of wonderstones. Who can say?
But, anyway, there’s a Siegfried (or is it Roy?) type who apparently does a thing with big cats. He shows up at the bar and when everybody looks askance at his bandaged neck, he says: “If I spend more than an hour away from my cats, they forget who I am and attack me.” Hang onto that line, but don’t squeeze it too hard.
Right. Burt (Steve Carell) and Anton (Steve Buscemi) are hackneyed Bally’s headliners with an assistant named Jane (Olivia Wilde). Burt’s hair looks like something David Lee Roth coughed up in 1979, and he is an asshole. A Criss Angel type named Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), aka the “brain rapist” (just like we all secretly call ourselves), steals their action by looking disturbingly like Bo Bice and slicing his face on-camera. Carrey is actually entertaining at first because he’s got this weirdo energy—plus, someone pepper-spraying themselves in the face is more fun than someone named Burt getting his boring, mushy mojo back.
Director Don Scardino has also directed 30 Rock, among other things. Oh, Don, you know that feel-good stuff about becoming a better person is like a slow, hand-held drill to the noggin. Although, for comparison purposes, it’s totally okay when the brain rapist literally does that.
Anyway, playing an old-timey magician, Alan Arkin makes things excellent for about two minutes. And there’s one other good line: “Your skin makes me cry,” Steve tells Burt.
Isn't that a Radiohead lyric? Whatever it means, agreed.