Little Magic in Burt Wonderstone

Jim Carrey dazzles, Steve Carell perseveres, but script disappoints

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 15, 2013 11:26 AM CDT

(Newser) – Critics aren't exactly amazed or mesmerized by Steve Carell's new Vegas magician spoof The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, with most relegating the movie to two-star territory. Here's a taste of the reaction:

  • "If there were an Oscar for best bad hair, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone would be a lock," laments Ty Burr at the Boston Globe. Sadly, the movie's approach seems to be to "set up a comic situation and then let the cast wing it," and the result is "a lazy, underwritten imitation of a Will Ferrell movie."

  • "There’s a better movie buried in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," writes Dana Stevens at Slate, but the thing is so "maddeningly under-ambitious," predictable, and "sparsely populated with jokes, that it would be impossible to call this a successful comedy." But it did make her laugh—"sporadically, yes, but sometimes loudly"—and Jim Carrey brings "an excess of firepower to his underwritten role."
  • She's not the only one praising Carrey. Mick LaSalle at the San Francisco Chronicle calls the movie itself "pleasant" and "reasonably funny," but devotes most of his review to Carrey's show-stealing performance as a David Blaine analogue whose "masochistic commitment to magic is nearly matched by Carrey's masochistic commitment to comedy." This is the kind of "complete lunatic" Carey was born to play.
  • As for leading man Steve Carell, he "performs like a champ" but he's "a showman without much of a show," writes Elizabeth Weitzman at the New York Daily News. "There's so much promise here that you may spend most of the movie searching for hidden hilarity." Alas, "what you see is all you'll get."

Steve Buscemi and Steve Carell pose in this publicity shot for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.
Steve Buscemi and Steve Carell pose in this publicity shot for "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone."   (AP Photo, Warner Bros. Pictures, John P. Johnson, File)
This film image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Steve Buscemi, background, and Steve Carell in a scene from The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.
This film image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Steve Buscemi, background, and Steve Carell in a scene from "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone."   (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Ben Glass)
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An official trailer for Burt Wonderstone.   (YouTube)

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