“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone:” A different approach

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For my piece in this classic movie series, I bring to you what I consider to be the most underrated movie of 2013, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.” I absolutely love this movie, but admittedly, this is probably one of the only positive reviews you will see for it anywhere right now.

The fact that this movie flopped so bad is astonishing to me. Everything about it is pure, solid comedy gold. Starring Steve Carell as Burt Wonderstone, Steve Buscemi as Anton Marvelton, Olivia Wilde as Jane, and Jim Carrey as Steve Grey, this movie has a legendary cast that screams funny, and with supporting actors like Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini, and Jay Mohr, there are few movies out there better equipped to make us laugh.

The movie starts out with a somewhat cliche back story, setting up the “magical friendship” between Burt Wonderstone (Carell), and Anton Marvelton (Buscemi). (I only call it cliche because any regular movie viewer has seen the likes of it a thousand times.) However, if you’re going to know anything about my taste in movies, let it be known that I am a giant sucker for a well planned montage.

Skipping 30 years into the future, we find Burt to be obnoxious and rude as years of pressure from doing the same show has worn him into a bitter shell of a person. This, coupled with new competition from a street magician named Steve Grey who’s methods are uncouth and barely magical, create the perfect storm for Burt’s world to come crashing in on itself.

In a final attempt to regenerate interest in themselves, Burt and Anton attempt to do a trick they call “The Hot Box,” a trick, that, no surprise, goes horribly wrong. After miserably failing, Burt not only finds his relationship with Anton to be in shambles, he also finds himself to be broke and homeless.

In desperation he finds works as an entertainer at a retirement home where he becomes acquainted with his personal hero, a former magician, Rance Hollaway (Arkin). It’s with Rance that Burt remembers why he became a magician, and also why he must continue in his efforts.

While watching this in my dorm one day, my roommate actually brought up a valid point. This movie is basically “Talladega Nights” but with magic tricks. Alas, it is somewhat true. The story arc is almost exactly the same, but hey, maybe that makes you want to watch it even more. Isn’t magic more fun then Nascar, anyway?

When it boils down to it, I can pinpoint exactly three reasons why I love this movie so much.

1. Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi’s dancing. (You’ll know what I’m talking about just by watching the trailer.)

2. The song “I’m On Top of The World” by Imagine Dragons. (It’s used about 500 times in this movie, but it fits so well, how could it not be?)

3. Jim Carrey’s “magic tricks.” (If his final trick doesn’t make you literally bust out laughing, you have no sense of good comedy.)

In fact, I don’t know if I can say this enough, but Jim Carrey makes this movie. Playing Steve Grey, a Chris Angel rip off (Grey’s TV show is even called Brain Rapist in the movie, uncannily similar to Mind Freak, no?) His performance in this movie reminds me of classic Jim Carrey. It’s what he does best: a unique, flamboyant and over the top character. A character, who fits beautifully as the antagonist to this tale.

Forget all the negative press this movie has received. Give it a try. It’s easily one of the best comedies of the past few years.

 

Seen the movie? Do you agree with me? Tell me in the comments what you think about “Wonderstone.”