Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

After watching a mediocre 21 and Over, I was hoping that my next trip to theater would be a little more hysterical, considering it would feature my main man Steve Carell. As a huge fan of The Office, I have a special connection to Michael Scott and, as a result, Mr. Carell himself. In addition to that amazing character, I have loved him in so many films, including Bewitched, Bruce Almighty, Date Night, and Dinner for Schmucks. Because of this special love for Steve Carell, I will watch absolutely any film that he makes. I even managed to watch all of Seeking a Friend for the End of the World without running out of the theater, and that, my friends, was tough. My expectations for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone were not very high, and, this week, on Late Night, Carell admitted to the film being stupid, so I had an idea of what I was getting myself into. But, a film featuring Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, and Alan Arkin has no choice but to provide a few laughs along the way...

While there were many good elements to this very silly plot, there was just a little too much going on. I liked almost every character, but the film struggled to build any character depth because of the sporadic and busy plot. While Carell's Wonderstone had a good amount of screen time, I think the film would have been better if he had more interaction with Steve Buscemi's Anton Marvelton and Jim Carrey's Steve Gray. The characters were great in there own respect, but their interaction throughout the film was unorganized and rare. If you remove the time that the film spent setting up a love interest for Wonderstone, there would have been more time for Buscemi and Carrey to use their talents. I know this film was not meant to be a witty or realistic comedy, but it would have been much better if the plot was refined a bit to better embrace the relationship of the characters.

I know I spent much of the "plot" section talking about the characters, and, in this case, that is not a bad thing at all. The characters were, as a whole, what made the film laughable. Steve Carell, as his normally hilarious self did a great job of acting a bit different from his previous characters. There were a few times that I was waiting for Carell to embrace his inner Michael Scott, but he never acted like his "normal" funny self. However, he did sway from his Wonderstone character on a few occasions. He would start talking like himself, rather than using the Burt Wonderstone accent, which was blatantly obvious. Because of this odd change in character and attitude, I would say that Carell's performance was just mediocre. On top of that, the performances of Steve Buscemi, Alan Arkin, and Jim Carrey were also mediocre, which was quite disappointing.

Olivia Wilde's Jane/Nicole was very, very, very, very useless, and I did not understand why Wonderstone needed this obvious future love interest in this story. Also, why does Steve Carell often end up with younger women in his films (Keira Knightly and Anne Hathaway)? It just doesn't fit him. Finally, I don't like James Gandolfini.

I want to give a special shout out to Jay Mohr for being funny for the first time ever. His turn as unemployed magician Rick the Implausible was quite hilarious, which greatly surprised me. The only other positives were the two actors who played the young Burt and Anton, Mason Cook and Luke Vanek. I really think the film would have been funnier if they were the stars.

Compared to 21 and Over, I would say that The Incredible Burt Wonderstone was similarly funny. However, if you don't like Steve Carell, DO NOT go watch this film. The character of Burt Wonderstone is definitely a "Steve Carell character," and, knowing that my dad doesn't find Carell funny, I can see him roling his eyes throughout the entire film. Wonderstone was rather funny, but it could have been much better. Not to knock Olivia Wilde (she is an ok actress and fun to look at), but her character is what made the film so sporadic and killed the character depth. Also, if you are going into the film expecting a Jim Carrey classic, stay away. While Carrey is an integral part of the storyline, this film belongs to Steve Carell's Burt Wonderstone. I give The Incredible Burt Wonderstone 2.27 out of 5 stars.

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