BY CLAIRE WARD-BEVERIDGE
If someone had told me that Hollywood had decided to make a comedy about professional Las Vegas magicians and I hadn’t yet seen a trailer or heard about casting/directing, I’m not going to lie, my heart would’ve leapt a little bit. I mean, the concept in and of itself is pretty friggin’ good. It’s something that dudes like Tim and Eric, or Bob and David, would riff on. But sadly, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone fell into the hands of director Don Scardino (Rescue Me, Hope & Faith, George Lopez) with Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (Sam Weir from Freaks & Geeks) writing.
From the start of the opening credits, Burt Wonderstone seemed cheaply made and poorly cast mainly with the one leading role. I’m just totally sick of Steve Carell at this point. Other than the odd semi-serious role, every comedic character he plays just seems like a shitty version of something Michael Scott would pull out of his ass in a weak episode of The Office. Even the title is so, so lazy too. Every character’s name in the film could’ve been really funny and strange, but it all seemed like it was written over the course of a long weekend by a few uninspired screenwriters on Percocet.
OK, I’ve just read what I’ve written up until this very sentence and I’m already sick of hearing myself complain about this movie’s terrible-ness. We all knew it would be terrible and there’s nothing super interesting about reading the confirmation of that. So instead, I’m going to try listing as many redeeming qualities as I can to see if that makes for a slightly more interesting review.
So, Jim Carrey was mostly good. He did what he could with the character and the lines and he looked pretty amazing — like Bret Michaels crossed with Dave Navarro. (He’s fucking 50 years old and looks 40, which I think is worth mentioning.
You know who else was fairly OK? Olivia Wilde. She’s a mega babe and I’ve loved her since she talked about ‘Olivia-Land’ on stage at Joe’s Pub back in the fall. (Please, everyone, read this.) She was charming and sexy here, and I loved watching her do probably-CGI’d tricks (“My illusions, dad! You don’t have time for my illusions!”). Also, seeing her make-out with Steve Carell made him a bit sexy for a few brief moments in time.
And Steve Buscemi can do no wrong, of course. Never. He just can’t. He is forever enveloped in some sort of force field which prevents him from ever becoming a bad actor, making a wrong decision or selling out.
And last but not least, we had Alan Arkin, who, up until the Oscars last month, I actually thought was dead. He’s always totally natural and fine and consistent and I bet he’s a really fun grandpa.
OK! That’s it. If those ‘pros’ are enough for any of you out there, then please by all means go see this film, but definitely bring alcohol, smoke a joint in an alley outside your local multiplex before heading inside, or bring a sexy date that you can smooch and/or grope during the ultra-schmaltzy bits.
W- (Or a D-)[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeU1ILHi_Lo]
Claire Ward-Beveridge is a freelance writer & photographer who lives in North Parkdale, Toronto and her rattled brain. She loves Werner Herzog and depressing English dramas. Follow her @clairewarb.