Friday, September 27, 2013

Movie Review ... The Incredible Burt Wonderstone


The-Incredible-Burt-Wonderstone-posterLas Vegas and magic go hand in hand.  Both deal with the art of illusion with the suspense in receiving the ultimate pay-off palatable.  This is why so many Vegas set productions have featured magic and mystical happenings.  ‘Wonderstone’ has plenty of those within its decent comedy.  Vegas is still portrayed as an ode to ultra-kitsch tackiness although the trick is in unearthing its true manner behind the facade.

Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) are one of Las Vegas’ biggest magic acts.  When an accident forces Anton to retire, Burt attempts to go it alone. Unfortunately his efforts are unsuccessful, especially when he finds himself competing with extreme street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey).  Desperate to please his casino owner boss Doug (James Gandolfini), Burt aims to reunite with Anton and restore their reputation as Vegas’ finest dazzling partnership.

Those expecting the magic of originality with ‘Wonderstone’ may be disappointed.  It follows a familiar path with the various obstacles its characters face routine.  What it lacks in that area it more than makes up for in the performer’s enthusiasm.  The leads elevate the predictable script with some fine characterisation bringing life to their roles.  As Burt struggles to adapt to changing tastes, re-discovering his love for his art is amusingly conveyed by Carell’s dead-pan delivery. 

‘Wonderstone’ has a lot of heart without making it too saccharine.  The character development is handled effectively with the comedy more reliant on genuine wit than crudity.  This makes for an easy-flowing film making the most of its premise.  The street-scapes of Vegas look suitably spectacular, often mirroring the gargantuan task Burt has in returning from the professional abyss.

A fun, amiable slice of fluff ‘Wonderstone’ does the required job. It isn’t a genre world-beater but there are plenty of laughs to be had – which is a trick not many comedies know how to perform.


Movie Review Rating out of 10:  7

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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