HOLLYWOOD—Ten years ago, moviegoers remember Steve Carell and Jim Carrey’s first collaboration in “Bruce Almighty,” as rivaling news reporters. Ten years later, it’s Carell and Carrey duking it out once more on the big screen, only as rivaling magicians in “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.”
Collaborating for the third time, Steve Carell and Jim Carrey are the key components that make this film about fighting magicians in the Las Vegas strip a hilarious trip, though flawed. Though ten years prior it was Carrey who played the good guy battling a conniving Carell, the tables have turned and it is Carell on the defense from Carrey’s unusual yet reverting magic that threatens to light out his flame.
For 10 years, famed magician Burt Wonderstone (Carrell) and his childhood friend and partner Anton Marvelton (played by Steve Buscemi) have headlined and sold out the Bally’s Las Vegas run by Doug Munny (James Gandolfini). But after years of the same routine, Burt and Anton face difficulties in their performance, audience attendance and friendship.
The conflict keeps escalating after the arrival of Steve Gray (Carrey) an extreme street magician willing to do anything, but magic to get the attention and glory that once belonged to Burt. Add along a horrible (but very hilarious) performance-gone-wrong, Burt finds himself alone and without a job. When Burt’s life becomes to fall apart and be anything, but magical, it is his quest to become the great magician he dreamt of becoming as a kid, that reignites his fizzled flame.
The magician element of the film can be seen as an interesting new way to showcase a rivalry, but the story's layout is still somewhat a predictable route viewers have already come across-like a inner-struggle followed by guidance of a wise elder (in this case, it is in the form of Alan Arkin’s Rance Halloway) or falling for the girl. The film may have it’s moments where you tune out because of the same “rise and fall’ formula, but the cast alone is a reason to stay put and watch.
The film’s strong point is the actors. When you have comedians like Jim Carrey and Steve Carell, who are known as Hollywood’s leading funnymen, you can’t go wrong. Like their previous collaborations, it is simply enough to say that their chemistry works. No matter who's the bad guy, there’s no denying their characteristics and interactions are highly enjoyable to watch.
Carrey perhaps steals the show as the supporting act and his Gray persona can be seen as a comical mix of David Blaine and Criss Angel; only exaggerated to a new level and poking fun at endurance artist who claim to be magicians. Then the addition of Steve Buscemi and James Gandolfini-who are acclaimed actors in the television field-only make the film even that more appealing to watch.
Overall, the film is simply funny, but still worth seeing. Just to see Carrell and Carrey teaming up again and seeing them do what they do best is enough to sit back and enjoy, if there is not too much expectations.
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