Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Comedy
  • 2013
  • 100 mins

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Synopsis

Magicians Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) have shared a magical friendship since childhood. Decades down the line, their traditional double act isn't as fresh as it was, and punk street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) is threatening to usurp them.

About

You know you're in for a decent ride with any comedy where the childhood prelude is genuinely enjoyable and not just something you wish they'd get past quick so the real jokes can start. From the moment we see victimised young Burt's tragicomic homelife, we're on his side. It's a necessary sympathetic set up for a lead character we're about to connect with years later, long after he has become a) very successful and b) a complete douche.

Steve Carell is always great at finding the humanity in idiots, wannabes and boors, and in Burt Wonderstone, he's handed a gift part: there's something so inherently silly about professional magicians that adding an ego the size of the house followed by downfall and humiliation seems a comic conceit so clearly destined to be hilarious that it would have been very easy for the filmmakers to assume that was enough on its own.

Instead, they throw in a sweet if predictable journey of self-discovery with plenty of hugging and learning, but fortunately more than enough jokes and plum supporting turns to stop it feeling rote or sentimental. Alan Arkin steals the scenes he’s in as Burt’s Obi Wan, cantankerous retired showman Rance Holloway, while Jim Carrey's antagonist, a competitive master of endurance tests and extreme stunts, is such a wonderfully nasty comic creation that any sentimentality attached to either the romance or bromance plots feels like a much needed respite from the grosser antics of Carrey's self-aggrandising narcissist.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Alan Arkin, Jim Carrey, James Gandolfini, Steve Buscemi, Steve Carell, Olivia Wilde
  • Director: Don Scardino
  • Screen Writer: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley
  • Producer: Mason Novick, Jake Weiner, Tyler Mitchell, Chris Bender , Steve Carell
  • Composer: Lyle Workman

In a nutshell...

Big silly fun in the Anchorman vein, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is packed with great gags, recognisable characters and performances from comedians at the top of their game. Plus, magicians are inherently laughable. Recommended.

by Catherine Bray

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Marley

    Marley

    Kevin Macdonald directs a documentary about the life of one of the world's most iconic musicians, Bob Marley

  • Film4 Gone Too Far

    Gone Too Far

    Two estranged teenage brothers, one who grew up in Nigeria and one who frew up in Peckham, meet for the first time and struggle to accept each other

    On Film4: 10 Jul 11:10PM

  • Film4 Gone Too Far

    Gone Too Far on Film4

    A day in the lives of several young Black people who live on a South London estate, including two estranged brothers who grew up on opposite sides of the world in this adaptation of an Olivier award-winning play on Film4

  • Film4 On The Road

    On The Road on Film4

    Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart star as Sal Paradise, Dean Moriarty and Marylou in this starry, Film4-backed adaptation of Jack Kerouac's seminal beat novel.

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • @mona_benjamin We will definitely show Dark Horse, but not for some time I'm afraid. It's out on DVD in Aug, though: http://t.co/Pwq9pNKqGc

  • RT @_CarolMorley: Dreams of a Life is on at the wonderful @arthouseN8 on July 14th. http://t.co/J1TwIW9WhE

  • @Tommythecatz Hello! Not in the near future, but if you add it to a watchlist on our site, we'll email you next time: http://t.co/h5P159mUTN

  • At 4.40pm, Harrison Ford is wearing a fine leather jacket in Peter Hyams' Second World War romance Hanover Street. http://t.co/p2OCsSniOF

  • Hanover Street came out in 1979, on the cusp of Harrison Ford's Empire Strikes Back/Raiders/Blade Runner streak. http://t.co/6Zc4JY3zuM

Share