The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Directed by Don Scardino
Starring: Steve Carrell, Olivia Wilde, Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey, Alan Arkin
“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” is far more thoughtful than it ever needs to be, given that it's specifically cast for an audience drawn to broad physical comedy. Inevitably there are some moronic attempts at humour, but the script at least attempts to chart an (admittedly schmaltzy) arc for Carrell's washed-up magician, who has to rediscover his passion for his profession to appreciate what he has. There's an accurate commentary on the transition of the industry from wholesome illusion to stunty feats of endurance, whereby supposed street entertainers and bodyshock merchants are popularising non-traditional forms of magic. 'Burt Wonderstone' actually spends so much time on building relationships between its characters that – when it comes to the final third – it can't really resolve all of their issues properly, having to drop Alan Arkin's retired magician like an old toy and reduce Jim Carrey's David Blaine clone to a deranged clown. Nevertheless, there's enough rapport generated to ensure that a soft finale can't really spoil a perfectly amiable experience, the film semi-delivering on the promise of laughs and surprisingly adding some soul, to boot.