The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

2013. 100 Minutes, Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin, Jim Carrey, James Gandolfini, Jay Mohr. Directed by Don Scardino.

WonderstoneWhen a street magician’s stunt begins to make their show look stale, superstar magicians Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton look to salvage on their act – and their friendship – by staging their own daring stunt. (imdb)

elizabeth: I went in with an open mind and a brownie that Nicole snuck into the theatre. I laughed through The Campaign (and primal scream therapy has helped me embrace that “silly movies rock” part of me that had been buried for so long) but you just know that a “but” is going to follow… but I was overwhelmed at being underwhelmed. Nicole, I know you are Steve Carell’s secret love child, so can you pull a rabbit out of your hat and tell me what I missed while I was in a sugar-induced coma? BTW – Panera Bread owes you your money back on that brownie. I have an 8:30AM dentist appointment tomorrow.

Nicole: You just seriously aged Steve Carell – I don’t think he’s going to appreciate that. Look, we both had very low expectations for this movie – so don’t get sassy with me, missy. What  I didn’t expect, however, was to sit there for the first 45 minutes without so much as a tee-hee. Not a single ha. Not even the tiniest of internal recognitions that something funny was happening on screen. I can’t believe we had to wait till the very last scene to actually chuckle. That being said, it’s a joy to watch Steve Carell be Steve Carell. Terrible script or not.

elizabeth: I think I would have preferred Burt Wonderstone and his hapless sidekick Anton Marvelton more if the storyline had centered around two dried-up drag queens who saved Las Vegas.

burt wonderstoneNicole: Great, you just totally spoiled the semi-auto-biographical treatment about our lives I was about to send Dreamworks.

elizabeth:  I believe I would have cared more about them, the storyline and I would have gladly taken them shopping for something that flatters their skin tones. Just a side note: Carrel’s Wonderstone character in the burgundy velvet ensemble looks like my mother from the mid 1970s. Good thing I tattooed that shrink’s phone number on my wrist.

Nicole: Remind me to never thumb through your photo albums. Yeesh.

elizabeth: Nicole, my mother is on the phone and would like to respond to that last crack of yours. The real magic in this movie is Steve Buscemi appearing to not have one line on his face. I want the number of his makeup artist: STAT. Jim Carrey’s abs took my mind off the poorly written script, but he scared the crap out of me.

Nicole: Seemed like a totally wasted role for Jim Carrey. He’s better off being the lead. This gene-spliced David Blaine/Chris Angel send-up was just not suiting him. I did really enjoy Olivia Wilde and felt that although she’s never done comedy before she was quite good.

jimelizabeth: Veteran actor Alan Arkin is doing something very few actors his age seem to be doing in 2013. He is getting meaty roles and his portrayal of magician Rance Holloway was the bright spot in this movie. He was magical.

Nicole: Agreed. (Even though I’m incredibly biased because I will always have a soft spot for his portrayal of the easily duped Shel in The In-Laws.) He was the best thing about the movie. By a very long stretch.

elizabeth: And before I go up in puff of smoke, let me just say this to all the directors out there: Do not use the Steve Miller song “Abracadabra” ever again. That song is like nails down a chalkboard and I wonder if I would have liked the movie a little more without one of the worst songs ever written. Burt Wonderstone, where were you when I needed you to make something disappear besides this movie?