‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’ brings laughs, but is far from magic

Contributed
Steve Carell and Olivia Wilde in ‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.’ Rated PG-13, 100 min. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2013.

“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” is the kind of bland, slightly dumb and goofy comedy that will happily find a home on basic cable for the next 10 years, alongside Steve Carell’s similarly ho-hum “Evan Almighty.”

The egotistical stage magician Wonderstone (Carell) and his long-time partner Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) need to freshen up their tired act after the arrival of popular, edgy street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey). Instead, the pair’s friendship fractures, leaving Wonderstone to struggle – on his own and unemployed for the first time.

Carell has done this type of role before, but he excels at playing laughably over-confident characters with a lot to learn. With the addition of former assistant and aspiring magician Jane (Olivia Wilde) and Burt’s childhood inspiration Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin), the tone of the film softens until it nearly turns to mush.

Jokes about a tiger attack and starving people in Cambodia may be in bad taste, but there are a few good laughs here – most notably Carrey’s typically outrageous shtick, a welcome cameo from comic Jay Mohr, and the over-the-top surrealist romp during the end credits.

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