By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
The biggest fear that circulated online has to be that this film, judging from trailers and TV spots, that this had the makings of a really bad Will Ferrell comedy. Well, thankfully this film did not play out quite as poorly. This riff on Vegas magicians, old school and modern, actually had the potential of becoming a movie does have its hilarious moments and for fans of Jim Carrey’s spastic brand of physical comedy, it is certainly worth a viewing.
Veteran Vegas magician Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and his partner Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) are having problems impressing their audiences. Their stage show at Bally’s has grown stale and old hat. When rogue street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), and his shocking and sometimes disturbing brand of “magic” begins to wow modern audiences. Burt and Anton have no choice but to step up their game. In doing so, they must rediscover the reason and passion for their work.
Directed by Don Scardino, and written by Jonathan M. Goldstein, John Francis Daley, based on the story by Chad Kultgen and Tyler Mitchell, the film does have its share of comedic attempts that fall flat, though it does have enough hilarious scenes that kept me entertained adequately. The real star of the show is Carrey who does what he does best. His insane, cartoonish, physical comedy works so well here. I felt that while Carell has some fine scenes here and there, his comedic talent is highly underused.
At the SXSW screening at the Paramount Theater, stars Carell, Olivia Wilde, and Carrey, in addition to screenwriters Goldstein and Daley attended and delighted the audience members with their charming personalities and hilarious comic timing.