Wonderstone’not an ‘incredible movie but worth seeing
Incredible is not the word to describe “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.” Silly? Definitely. Predictable? Yes, that too. But in the case of “Wonderstone,” those qualities only added to its charm. For the film was also hilarious, thoroughly entertaining and even touching. It might not be incredible, but this magician movie does have a certain comedic magic.
Burt Wonderstone’s love of magic started when he was a lonely young boy. Bullied by the other kids, he took solace in his magic kit, and soon found a friend in fellow outcast Anton Marvelton. Years later, the two became successful magicians with a hit show in Las Vegas. But the act, which hasn’t changed in decades, has become stale and Wonderstone is jaded to the point of alienating his longtime partner. Adding to his troubles, new magician Steve Gray has stolen his audience with endurance stunts, leaving him without a job and broke. In order to regain his old life, Wonderstone now must rediscover his original love of magic.
Watching Wonderstone and Marvelton awkwardly gyrate on stage to the strains of the Steve Miller Band’s “Abracadabra” while wearing frosted mullet wigs and sparkling costumes shows how over-the-top this film is. And that’s exactly what makes it so funny. The film not only satirizes what’s considered “magic” today, it also pokes fun at what society considers entertaining. Thus, seeing Gray do stunts like hammering a nail with his head and sleeping on a bed of hot coals is hilarious because it’s ludicrous yet also easy to imagine someone like Criss Angel doing.
Along with this humor, the movie also has a heart. From the beginning you sympathize with Wonderstone even after he becomes ridiculously self-centered because you know deep down he is still the innocent boy fascinated by magic. You want him to reunite with Marvelton because you see how much they need each other’s friendship. By the end, you hope that he defeats Gray in the magic contest because you’ve become so emotionally invested in his story.
Steve Carell is wonderful as the title character for his ability to convey the transformation from the bigheaded star to the reformed magic-lover. Steve Buscemi is also excellent as the long-suffering Marvelton. But it was an absolute pleasure watching Jim Carrey portray Gray, returning to his signature brand of physical comedy.
“Wonderstone” may not be incredible, but it’s certainly worth seeing.
The Setonian gives this 4 stars out of 5.
Sean Quinn can be reached at email@example.com.