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Friday, November 28, 2014         

MOVIE REVIEW


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Film's trick? Being called a 'comedy'

Steve Carell plays "Burt Wonderstone," a Vegas magician challenged by an up-and-coming performer of illusions

By McClatchy News Services

POSTED:


There are a lot of big stars in the comedy "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone." What's missing are a lot of big laughs.

Well, there are about four — one of them right at the very end — and this is a movie that clocks in at 100 minutes, so that's quite a bit of downtime between guffaws to contemplate just why so many people who should know better are involved in this.

Steve Carell is the title character, a Las Vegas magician who — along with his best friend, Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) — has a stage act that used to be popular but now seems to appeal only to those seeking refuge from the Nevada heat. This does not make casino owner Doug Munny (James Gandolfini) a happy man.

‘THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE’
Rated PG-13
*1/2
Opens today

Meanwhile, Steve Grey (Jim Carrey) is wowing crowds with his new-generation human-endurance magic; think David Blaine minus 50 IQ points. Doug wants some of that action, but Wonderstone, whose ego is as vast as a Vegas showroom, doesn't want to change.

Finally, Wonderstone and Marvelton capitulate, and that's how they end up in that big box high above the street that we've seen in all the trailers.

There is a story, and no doubt lots of humor, to be mined from the generational battle of magic styles. But "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," with its tired, labored gags and undercooked love story between Carell and an assistant who wants to be a magician (Olivia Wilde), isn't that story.

Director Don Scardino comes out of episodic television ("2 Broke Girls," "Royal Pains," "30 Rock"), and it shows in his flat approach. The movie is a succession of scenes in search of a laugh track.

There are moments when Carrey transcends these barriers through sheer energy and force of will. The increasingly bizarre feats of denial and danger — holding his urine, sleeping on hot coals — are given a jolt of electricity by his mere presence.

Then there's that final, extended sight gag that is good enough to almost make up for everything that comes before it. Still, it would be better if "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" just disappeared.

———

Cary Darling writes for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

ALSO OPENING TODAY
For complete movie listings and schedules, see today's TGIF.

KINETIC FILM SERIES
Featuring three independent films from Hawaii’s Kinetic Productions, playing at Pearlridge 16

‘6B’
This anthology examines the darker side of life in Hawaii through stories connected by the same room number — 6B. Nathan Kurosawa wrote and directed the story of a man struggling with drug addiction in “Vacancy”; Jay Hanamura wrote and directed “Last Sixty,” which examines how a family deals with an impending tsunami; Roy Kimura wrote and directed “Redemption,” the story of a young woman who befriends her neighbor, a former hitman; and Ryan Kawamoto looks at gambling through the story of an ex-con who must enter an underground poker game to reunite with his daughter. NR

‘Paradise Broken’
Written by local author Chris McKinney, this story about the side of Waikiki that tourists seldom visit
follows two drug addicts, played by Hollywood actor Dante Basco and Nadine Nicole Heimann, as they descend into a life of crime. NR

‘Hang Loose’
This film stars Dante Basco and YouTube sensation Kevin Wu, whose KevJumba channel boasts 2.7 million subscribers and 318 million video views. Relatives of a bride and groom come to Hawaii for the wedding, and their lives change after one crazy night. Wu plays a dorky guy who is about to become the brother-in-law of Basco’s cool character, and they both learn something from each other. NR





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