Steve Carell is an immensely popular actor. Jim Carrey used to be. Steve Buscemi is an actor's actor, and Olivia Wilde is an up and coming young actress. With all this talent in the cast of one movie, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, it should be a guaranteed success. Guess what folks, it isn't. It isn't a horrible movie; it just isn't a very good one.
The movie tells the story of two childhood friends who grow up to be wonderful magicians named Burt Wonderstone (Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Buscemi). They appear to have the world on a string as they make their nightly appearances at Bally's in Las Vegas. The audience loves them for many years, but then loses interest as they seem to be doing the same show over and over. Also Burt's ego is getting out of hand and he is alienating everyone with whom he comes in contact.
Eventually Anton leaves the partnership and Burt loses his gig at Bally's. He is reduced to playing old folks' homes. That is where he meets Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin), a magician he has idolized since childhood. Rance helps him restore his faith in old school magic tricks, and not be swayed by new magicians such as Steve Gray (Carrey) who practice shock magic.
Carell does a good job of creating a full picture of Burt, even making him totally obnoxious at the start of the film. Buscemi doesn't make much of an impression but then he has sort of a nothing role. Carrey plays his role in a manic manner and completely turns off the audience. This is not a smear on his acting talents but just on the role as it is written.
Arkin and Wilde are two of the best parts of the movie. Arkin is such a consummate actor he can make someone like Rance bigger than life while at the same time being completely human. Wilde brings freshness to her role and makes you want to see her more. Unfortunately she is not given a lot to do.
The movie is rated PG-13 for profanity and violence, both of which are excessive in this film. Since the movie appears to be aimed at a young audience this excessiveness is unfortunate. Toning down the profanity and the violence would have made it appeal more to an overall "family" audience.
There isn't much magic in this tale of magicians. The story entertains but once it is over it is over. There is no desire to think about it once you leave the theater. That sort of sums the whole thing up -- completely forgettable. Maybe Magic Burt should have taken some lessons from Magic Mike and he would have been more of a hit.
I scored The Incredible Burt Wonderstone a forgettable 5 out of 10.