Film: Burt WonderstoneLess Than Smoke and Mirrors
March 7, 2013 - By JP Spence
Steve Carrell is great, Burt Wonderstone .? Next sentence. Day late and dollar short, knife to gun fight, whatever platitude you choose, The Wonderful Burt Wonderstone is dead on arrival.
The films biggest mistake is not relying on comic icons like Carrel, Jim Carrey or Alan Arkin, but rather the ham-handed hands of writers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. The duo, who wrote Horrible Bosses, falls into the same pratfalls with the former as with the latter: There can be weak characters with a strong story or strong characters with a weak story, not both.
Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) are a successful comedic duo until a mishap leaves Wonderstone flying solo. As Criss Angel, err I mean Steve Gray (Carrey) comes to take top spot in the Vegas circuit; Wonderstone is left to come back from the dregs to regain his crown. Daley and Goldstein, along with director Don Scardino, lose focus as the film is part over-the-top comedy, part heart warmer, part satire, while being equally bad at all. As underwhelming as the writing isthe only thing missing was the literal beating of a dead horsethere is more concern for the actors.
Aside from reprising Brick Tamland in the upcoming Anchorman sequel, its questionable why Carrell is still only doing deadpan comedy. The actor is truly talented beyond the corner hes painting himself into and it seems safe for him to return to this type of role. Think of it like David Bowie not changing his persona. Sure, thered be some great work but there would obviously be some talent wasted.
Carrey unfortunately fits the dated material. I think Carrey hit his expiration date circa Yes Man. The cast runs deep with James Gandolfini, Arkin, Brad Garrett, Olivia Wilde and Gillian Jacobs who all have chops and all just come up so short. I doubt that all thought that this was a winning script rather than a few favors were called in.
Dont wait for The Wonderful Burt Wonderstone on DVD, itll be on basic cable soon enough.