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

    Youth

    Fred and Mick, two old friends now approaching 80, are on vacation together in an elegant hotel at the foot of the Alps. The two friends know that their time is quickly running out, and they decide to face their future together.

  • Film4 The Stranger Wore a Gun

    The Stranger Wore a Gun

    Randolph Scott stars in a Western about a former spy who relocates to Ariozna to join a gold robbbery, but quickly reassesses his decision

    On Film4: 21 Apr 1:05PM

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Mike Leigh announces new film, Peterloo

    Mike Leigh's next project will look at Peterloo - the infamous 1819 massacre by government forces at a peaceful pro-democracy rally at St Peter's Field in Manchester, when 700 working people were inju

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Four Film4-backed films selected In Competition at Cannes 2015

    Four Film4-backed films ¿ Todd Haynes¿ Carol, Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster, Paolo Sorrentino¿s Youth and Justin Kurzel¿s Macbeth ¿ have been invited into official selection at this year¿s Cannes film

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • "This is an immigrant's tale about keeping the magic alive." Up next at 11am, Aishwarya Rai stars in romantic drama Mistress Of Spices.

  • RT @DH_Film: "It's a winner!” Don't miss #DarkHorseFilm this weekend. Find your nearest cinema here: http://t.co/DJgsxTVzao https://t.co/UD…

  • RT @michaelsheen: This looks good. @HannahDav25 http://t.co/DILtOBUbJ5

  • RT @ClareLBinns: Come on #DarkHorse! Film of the week @TimeOutLondon http://t.co/HMf6VFFvvI

  • RT @Craigisonfire: Today's UK TV Film of the day is 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' starring @EmWatson & @LoganLerman on @Film4 at 18:55 …

Share