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The Incredible Burt Wonderstone - Film Review

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by Chrystal Byrne (subscribe)
Freelance writer living on Brisbane's north side. Studied creative industries - currently studying library and information services.
Published March 25th 2013
Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton (or Albert Wunderstein and Anthony Mertz) have been best friends and partnered magicians since they were children being bullied at school. It all starts when Burt receives a Rance Holloway magic kit for his birthday and Anton sees him practicing magic tricks in the school cafeteria. The awe and wonder of magic connects them, and they are together from that point on.

Decades later, Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton have an ongoing gig at the prestigious Aztec Casino in Las Vegas. But, once the best of friends, ten years of performing the same tricks over and over again has driven Burt and Anton to extreme dislike. Burt thinks that he'd be better off alone and Anton is fed up with Burt's vile ego, which sees them going through female assistants (all called 'Nicole' in the act) quickly. When another assistant quits during a show, Burt enlists show production employee Jane as the new 'Nicole'.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)
Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton, played by Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi

When numbers start to dwindle at their show, Burt and Anton realise that an up-and-coming street 'magician', Steve Gray, is stealing away the spotlight with performances of unique and grotesque 'magic tricks', filmed for his television show, Brain Rapist. Taking ideas from Gray's endurance-based stunts, Anton suggests his own: the Hot Box. He and Burt lock themselves up in a plastic 'hot box' for a week, suspended in the air. Because he hasn't 'gone to any rehearsals', Burt panics 20 minutes in and breaks open the box, causing Anton and himself to fall to the ground, Burt severely injuring Anton in the process. Anton and Jane part ways with Burt.

Burt tries to run his and Anton's show alone but fails miserably. He's fired, realises he's broke, and goes to work in a nursing home for former Vegas entertainers. There, he meets his childhood idol Rance Holloway, and starts to rekindle the feelings of awe and wonder that magic once gave him. With his passion for magic revamped, Burt sets out to get his life back with the best attitude he's had since the start of his career. But can Burt make good his severed friendship/partnership with Anton? And can they end the reign of Steve Gray, whose dangerous shock tactics have the world enthralled? It may take a magic trick, the biggest and best magic trick of all.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)
Jane, played by Olivia Wilde

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a 2013 comedy film directed by Don Scardino and written by John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein, based on a story by Chad Kultgen, Tyler Mitchell, Daley and Goldstein. The film stars Steve Carell as Burt Wonderstone/Albert Wunderstein, Steve Buscemi as Anton Marvelton/Anthony Mertz, Jim Carrey as Steve Gray and Olivia Wilde as Jane. Youngsters Mason Cook and Luke Vanek play the young Burt Wonderstone/Albert Wunderstein and Anton Marvelton/Anthony Mertz.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)
Steve Gray, played by Jim Carrey

I really enjoyed The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013). I enjoyed seeing another movie with both Steve Carell and Jim Carrey playing alongside each other (think Bruce Almighty (2003) and Horton Hears a Who! (2008)), and I enjoyed seeing Jim Carrey playing the role of the 'dangerous bad guy'. Both Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi played their roles well, but for me Carrey really stole the show. His performance demanded power and spotlight in every scene he was in. Olivia Wilde was beautiful as Jane, and I was particularly enchanted by her performance in the scene where a butterfly flutters from her fingertips.

Although I found the movie amusing, and it did pull some chuckles and eyebrow-raising moments from me, I was a little confused by the seemingly clashing elements of comedy. There seemed to be a black comedy versus light-hearted family comedy battle going on, with possible happy moralistic storylines getting lost amongst the darkness of Steve Gray's actions. Either way it was a great movie that I do not regret watching, but the mood of the film was, at times, difficult to follow.

I would recommend The Incredible Burt Wonderstone to people of all ages. Youngsters might not properly understand most of the dark references and will love the magic of the film, and even adults will find awe and humour in it. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is in cinemas now. Check out the trailer below and book yourself some time to go see it.

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Why? Because you want to see a new movie.
When: From March 15.
Where: In cinemas near you.
Cost: Admission prices for cinemas are available online or in-store.
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