Steve Carell is just magic in THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE.
I love discovering good movies and this one is a real find. Steve Carell made me laugh till my sides hurt in the magical comedy THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE.
As a young boy, Burt wasn’t popular and didn’t have any friends. That is until he saw the legendary magician Rance Holloway (who else but Alan Arkin) on TV and a lifelong passion for all things abracadabra was born. His school chum Anton (a superb Steve Buscemi) becomes not only a friend but a partner and soon they are the toast of Las Vegas with their mind-boggling illusions.
Supported by canny casino owner Doug Munny – an absolutely on point James Gandolfini – everything is peachy until Burt’s ego begins to grow out of hand, Anton and Burt’s friendship becomes nothing but a sham and guerrilla street magician Steve Gray (a fantastically manic Jim Carrey) threatens to show the guys what new magic is all about. Perhaps their reluctant assistant Jane is the lifeline for Burt to find out what made him fall in love with magic in the first place? You better believe it.
Readers of this blog might have picked up that I’m a bit of an admirer of the work of Steve Carell. Whether it’s comedy or more lately drama with the extraordinary Foxcatcher, he’s terrific and here he shines again as the thoroughly unpleasant Burt, an orange-tanned monstrosity who begins to make the slow journey back to being an alright guy with the help of his friends. Carell judges the mix of laughs and pathos just right and Olivia Wilde is wonderful too as Jane. She has a quite captivating screen presence and she dazzles in a role that’s so much more than ‘the assistant’ – watching her tolerate and then feel something for Burt is really touching and she and Carell spar brilliantly. And let’s not forget to mention Steve Buscemi, who delivers another Coen brothers-like spot on supporting performance as Anton.
Don Scardino, who was responsible for a large number of episodes of 30 Rock, directs with a light touch, the script by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley crackles with gags and also poignant moments (but mostly gags and very funny ones at that) and the whole thing is an extremely enchanting way to spend a couple of hours – give it a go.