¨Prepare to get your brain raped.¨
Director Don Scardino got to work with Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, and Steve Buscemi in his latest comedy. He also signed James Gandolfini and Alan Arkin for secondary roles. It doesn’t get any better than that comedy wise, but somehow the film failed to deliver big laughs and it settled for a formulaic genre instead. It has to be more difficult to do a bad movie than a good one considering the great cast Scardino had to work with, but the direction and the script failed completely so the film managed to do the impossible: turn funny actors into mediocre ones. This year has been pretty bad for comedies so far, and I had expectations for this film but it completely derails from the very beginning considering how unlikeable Steve Carell´s character is. This movie can be used in film classes everywhere to show the students how they can make a bad film with great actors. Jim Carrey is the only actor that really stands out in this film and it made you wish the film centered on his character which was a clever satiric portrayal of street magician Criss Angel. Other than that, the film lacks laughs and heart, and by the time the credits begin to role you are happy it got over with. The four writers involved in the screenplay couldn’t come up with a decent story and the jokes fell flat. It is a shame, because they had a stellar cast to work with and didn’t take advantage of them. Even the beautiful Olivia Wilde was underused and her character had nothing to offer.
Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and his best friend, Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) have been doing magic tricks together since they were kids. A wealthy Las Vegas Casino owner, Doug Munny (James Gandolfini), falls in love with their show and offers them a huge contract to perform at his casino. As the years go by, Burt and Anton become famous, but somehow fame and wealth have taken a toll on their friendship. Burt doesn’t care anymore about magic, and all he seems to be thinking of is getting the show over with and getting one of the girls from the audience to his bed. The only thing that has grown over time has been his personal ego. In the meantime, a street magician named Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) has begun to take the world by storm with his dangerous and bloody tricks. People have grown tired of Burt and Anton´s show which has remained the same for years, and Doug decides to end their contract with him. Burt and Anton each go their separate ways, and their fame soon fades away. Bankrupt, Burt decides to live at a retirement home, where he meets former magician Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin), who was his childhood idol. Rance reminds Burt about the joy of being a magician and all of a sudden his life begins to turn around. With the help of his former assistant, Jane (Olivia Wilde), Burt decides to try to return to his former glory, but is it too late now that the world has its eyes on Steve Gray?
I sort of felt the same way about this film like the way Burt and Anton´s characters felt about Steve Gray in that they said that what he was doing wasn’t really magic. They were just some distasteful tricks he was pulling off. In the same way this comedy can´t actually be called a film, it is just a bunch of distasteful and unfunny scenes one after another. Carell´s character is so egocentric and unlikeable that it doesn’t make much sense really why his assistant still stuck around him. By the time he turns his life around it is just a little too late for the audience to relate and like his character. I really didn’t care much for what happened to him. The film could have focused more on Carrey´s character who in my opinion does one of his funniest roles in a long time. The best thing about this film is his character and the few scenes he is in. It wouldn’t be a bad idea if the producers decide to make a spin off and make a film about him, although this film did so badly at the box office that they probably won´t want to take the risk. There is no magic whatsoever in this film, and I recommend you stay away from it.