It’s not just smoke and mirrors in this magic show. “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” is a comedy about two young boys who are the outsiders in school. They bond over their love of magic. Fast forward a couple decades and the duo have their own theatre and show in Las Vegas at the Bally’s hotel. Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carrell) has become an egotistical maniac who is not easy to work with. For him it is no longer about the magic, but about the fame and fortune that it has provided him.
His partner, Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) has become Burt’s punching bag. The two are no longer friends it appears, rather co-workers who can’t stand to be in the same room. When Burt’s womanizing ways run off another assistant he hires Jane (Olivia Wilde) to be the beauty on stage for the tricks. The timid Jane steps out of her comfort zone and takes on the new task. She is quickly disappointed when she discovers what an ass Burt is. She use to be in awe of his skills and his show and after a few moments on stage with him loses all respect for him.
With time comes change and this is something Burt is unwilling to do. After doing the same act for many years, Anton suggests they try different tricks, but Burt is not budging. Why change what works? However it is not working any longer. Slowly you begin to see the audience numbers dropping as fans are growing tired of this has been act. People are infatuated with a new magician on the scene known as Steve Gray (Jim Carrey). Steve’s cable show “Brain Rapist” has a cult following, one that is free for fans to watch from the streets of Vegas.
When Burt and Anton realize their show at Bally’s is in jeopardy they plan an outrageous stunt to regain fans. The stunt goes horribly wrong due to Burt. Once the stunt fails Anton calls it quits, ending his friendship and partnership with Burt. Now a solo act Burt struggles and winds up getting the boot from Bally’s. He must start over and try to find a way to survive.
“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” has a handful of laughs but nothing magnificent. Carrell and Buscemi have good chemistry and I enjoyed seeing these friends trying to be incredible, but never reaching the full potential. The star of the movie for me was Jim Carrey. His portrayal of Steve Gray was hilarious and I enjoyed the parallel to Chris Angel’s “Mind Freak”. It’s an average comedy, but nothing “incredible” is coming from this film.