REVIEW: THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE March 18, 2013 – Posted in: A Picture's Worth, Blog, Featured Columns
All text ©2013 Mike Pascale. Visuals ©2013 their respective owner(s).
Here’s hoping you all had a wonderful, enjoyable, safe and semi-sober St. Patrick’s Day. Hopefully, you comics fans out there wore an Incredible Hulk, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Green Lama, Green Mask or Randy Green shirt in honor. (Preferably with art by Jack Kirby, Marie Severin, Herb Trimpe, Gary Frank, Gil Kane, Neal Adams, Mac Raboy or Alex Ross artwork.) For you NFL fans, a Green Bay Packers hat/shirt or Washington Redskins #28 Darrell Green jersey would also be acceptable. And for every other (U.S.) consumer, a can of Green Giant niblets over your naughties would do.
For those that missed it, you can catch my latest holiday collaboration with John Lustig’s LAST KISS on his page. (I’ll show you more behind-the-scenes stuff when we do our Easter gag.)
Now, a quick review of the latest Steve Carell/Steve Buscemi/Jim Carrey magical comedy, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone!
–Some very accurate (and hilarious!) “insider” jokes, barbs, routines and glimpses into the world of magicians and Vegas (at least according to my lovely wife, who used to be a professional magician and once met a few of the consultants, including David Copperfield.) Especially spot-on were the comments and attitudes toward female magicians.
–Steve Carell makes noises—funny and otherwise—that no other human can (or would want to)
–Alan Arkin does a nice job as an “old school” magician/mentor (and makes some odd noises of his own in one scene).
–Jim Carrey is a funny, over-the-top (though emotionally restrained) version of Criss Angel. (Instead of the latter’s “Mindfreak” slogan, Carrey’s Steve Gray character uses “Brain Rapist”). Nice satire of the whole “how much can I torture myself and still live” cringe-worthy format embraced by Angel, David Blaine and their ilk.
–The DVD outtakes and gag reel are probably going to be funnier than what was in the film.
–Nice nod to nostalgia for anyone near my generation who remembers home magic kits, “TV Magic Cards” and their commercials from guys like Marshall Brodien (“Magic is fun and easy…when you know the secret!”)
–David Copperfield has a short-but-very-funny cameo exchange with Carell.
–Carell makes a believable transition from unsympathetic caricature to more-than-one-dimensional likeable character.
–No outtakes/button during/after the credits, despite the perfect opportunity.
–Some of the scenes (like Arkin’s noises in the hospital) begged for a punchline that never came (or could have been better).
–Try not to think too hard about the climactic “trick” at the end; just enjoy the humor of it.
–Not much promotion for this film, and hardly anyone in the theater (though possibly the St. Patrick’s holiday may have affected turnout. But we don’t live in a very Irish area).
–Some parts were kind of slow, and some of the laughs seemed forced/not as raucous as previous Carell roles (like those in ANCHORMAN or 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN).
My rating: Rent it. Comedy is best enjoyed in a full theater (which ours was definitely not) or at home. You’ll probably laugh even more after a few drinks. Abra Cadabra!
P.S.: If you’d like an “incredible” and “wonderful” piece of personal penciling or inking magic of your own for a surprisingly affordable amount of green, just ask Craig for yours here! I have the uncanny ability to turn cash into original art—Alakazam!