Not since Bruce Almighty have Steve Carell and Jim Carrey worked together on a project. Bruce was a huge success and I was anxiously waiting for their next project. When The Incredible Burt Wonderstone was announced, myself and audiences everywhere had our wish come true.
The movie follows the title character, played by Steve Carell, throughout his life from when he was bullied at school and had to celebrate his birthday alone because to his mother worked long hours, to his adulthood years as a Vegas entertainer. The audience follows Burt’s story from hardship to success.
The film shows Carell and his stage partner Anton Marvelton, played by Steve Buschemi, struggle to reinvent themselves as magicians who can remain popular with the new generation. The duo has been offering the same show for years, but their ticket sales are declining. To make matters worse, a new type of magician, with his own unique style, becomes a competitive obstacle for Burt and Anton. Steve Grey, played by Jim Carrey, is a street magician who films his cable television show in front of the Vegas crowd and offers a special type of magic: stupidity. Grey performs such tricks as holding his urine for 12 days and playing a human piñata that vomits candy. This new type of “magic” forces Burt and Anton to do their own street trick, the “Hot Box.” While elevated up in the air, they will remain in a glass box for a week. Their assistant, played by Olivia Wilde, mocks this kind of entertainment by reminding them “all you have to do is literally nothing.” After 20 minutes of the stunt, Burt starts to get impatient, and while screaming and crying, manages to break the box, as well as his friendship with Anton.
For the better part of the film, Burt deals with rejection and struggles to remain relevant all the while resenting Steve Gray and his “magic.” When Burt meets his idol in a retirement home, he starts to transform his cold hearted, egocentric character into the boy who loved his hobby and made a career out of it. After Burt starts to become himself again, Anton comes back, and they agree to become partners once more.
When it’s announced that the winner of a talent search would receive a five-year contract at the new Vegas attraction opening up, Burt and Anton battle Steve Gray for the spot. Both magicians give the audience their very best in a showdown that astonishes viewers from both sides, but for entirely different reasons.
Burt Wonderstone delivers laughs from start to finish. The film reminded me of Blades of Glory only with magic instead of ice-skating. Carell and Carey are both brilliant comedians who have the ability to make the most bizarre films genuine, hilarious and heart-warming.