The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013): Steve Carrell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Jim Carrey, Alan Arkin, and the late, great James Gandolfini all star in a "comedy" about magicians, friendship, and Las Vegas.
Can you say cash grab? When I say that the best part of a movie with the stars I just listed is Olivia Wilde, you know you have a cash grab movie for everyone else involved. So...I decided I would do some background on the director/writers involved in this movie, just to try to comprehend this travesty. This movie was the director's (Don Scardino) debut into the movie industry. Before Wonderstone he directed a bunch of 30 Rock episodes, some Law and Order, and a lot of scattered single episodes of TV shows. So I can forgive him for this. He's inexperienced, and he's handed all of these movie stars and just didn't know how to handle them. However, it wasn't so much the directing that was terrible as much as the writing. This movie is so lazy with its jokes and dialogue. So I decided to investigate the men who wrote this screenplay. I was shocked at the results. The writers had done mostly TV shows, but did do one movie before this. That movie was one of my personal favorite comedies of recent memory, Horrible Bosses. How these writers went from something as raunchy and outlandish as that to this steaming pile of crap is beyond me.
Let's talk about everything that's wrong with this movie. First of all, the characters. Every single one of them is either an asshole, (Carrel, Arkin. and Gandolfini) or they are about as stupid as can possibly be. (Wilde and Carrey) Carrel is the lead in this train wreck, and his character arc makes no sense at all. He starts the movie out as an asshole, but then in the middle of it he sits down and is like, "I don't want to be an asshole anymore." and completely turns his personality around in a night. No major event triggers this, he just has a complete 180 on a dime for no reason. In short, I did not buy his redeeming story for a second. And then, of course, immediately after he becomes this new and improved person, Olivia Wilde's character, who Carrell had treated like an absolute jerk and object and thus she should've been staying far away from, instantly falls in love with him. Like seriously? After treating her like crap for years all he has to say is I'm sorry and suddenly she wants to sleep with him. Man if it were that easy I'd have it made by this point. And then the exact same thing happens with Buscemi's character! Talk about lazy writing. And that's not even to mention Carrey's character, who is this completely unrealistic pain-sufferer-magician (I have no idea what they are actually called) who has it out for Carrell's character for absolutely no reason whatsoever. And then he defeats himself at the end when the writers finally decide that he does something that will have physical consequence. Not spending an entire night on a bed of hot coals. Not holding his urine for 12 freaking days. Not eating hundreds of pieces of candy and turning himself into a human piñata and ultimately spits back out the candy. No! It's drilling a hole in the side of his head. That's where we are going to draw the line.
Speaking of lazy, let's talk about cash-grabs. This movie is so painfully that. I would even go so far as to say that Steve Buscemi was forced to be in this. I have no idea how, but man he is making fun of this movie because he was so horribly corny in his acting. Even Gandolfini was completely wasted in this, simply playing a rudely generic big business tycoon type of role. Honestly, it was to the point that I forgot that he was in this and only remembered so when I checked IMDB before writing this. To be fair, that's probably what he wanted. The only person who showed up in this movie and put any effort into it whatsoever is Olivia Wilde. She is actually quite good in this, and is the only reason this movie is not a 1/10 for me. Although her dialogue is pretty silly, she executes it quite well. This is literally the only thing good about this movie.
A few more notes. One: this movie is about magic. There's no secret here. By the way I'm going to do some spoilers here, so just be warned. But seriously if you want to watch a magic movie go watch Now You See Me. There are more laughs in that action/suspense movie than in this comedy, with some exhilarating magic sequences. But whereas the magic in Now You See Me only becomes unrealistic in the final act, with everything up until that point being explained logically, almost none of the magic is explained here, with the exception of the final last trick. Which is the definition of unrealistic. It's a trick where they make the audience "disappear" from the casino theater they were in and "reappear" in some chairs outside of Vegas overlooking the skyline. I mean explaining the stupidity of this trick is not even worth my time. The final note about this is that I don't know who this movie is for. On one hand, the whole premise of the movie and the overall plot would definitely imply that it's for children. But then there are jokes in it that are very vulgar, including dropping the "f" bomb. This would certainly not be for children. As a result, I can't really recommend this movie to anybody. Not that I would anyway but it's premise doesn't appeal to teens and up but it's jokes are definitely not for kids. So....do yourself a favor and stay away.
The Critique: a steaming pile of dog turds. That's it.
The Recommendation: avoid like you would a steaming pile of dog turds. Unless if you like Olivia Wilde. Then you'll feel good for her when she's the best thing about a movie with A-list stars.
The Verdict: 1.5/10 Crap Crap Crap Crap
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