Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013) - Review

So much washed-up in one picture.

 This movie is one of those early 00s "wacky character almost high concept but not really" kind of movies.  It's like Zoolander, or Anchorman, if neither of those were funny.  And you know what?  I'd be okay with that if it wasn't made in 2013.  I would chalk it up as a failed attempt at aforementioned comedy like Blades of Glory or Semi-Pro (man, oh man, is that a good one).  But it's been over a decade since Zoolander and almost a decade since Anchorman; you're not going to top those.  Stop trying.

The story involves a lot of magic shenanigans, silly costumes, and over-the-top performances.  I think magic movies are typically a bad idea, though ironically this movie didn't have any movie magic.  Having magic in a film is completely counterintuitive for so many reasons; there's no way to suspend your disbelief while watching a FILMED and STAGED magical act.  There's really just no point unless playing it for comedy, which is just about the only thing this movie does right.

Jim Carrey as Kurt Cobain: almost saves the movie.
Strangely enough, for all the whining I've done about magic, the magic show sequences in the movie are far and away the funniest parts of the movie.  They seem to be more self-aware than the rest of the mess of a film.  The magic sequences flow pretty naturally and aren't shoehorned with forced 'funny' dialogue every time you turn around.  Well... they ARE, but it's actually funny, I guess.  The rest of the movie is just talented comedic actors making a mockery of themselves.  Except for Jim Carrey; he's mildly amusing.

I like Steve Carrell, I really do, but he gives such a phoned in performance that it's really hard for me to like him in the movie.  He equates yelling in a strange voice to comedy, something that Anchorman did a lot, but to much better success because in that movie, the non-sequitor jokes and zany antics were actually funny.  In this everything just seems kind of sad, and any laughs you'll get out of it are those desperate, exasperated sigh-laughs.  As in: "Haha... when is this over, again?"

No comments: