Writer: Ng SuzhenWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
A glimpse of the awfully gaudy costumes donned by Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) is probably a dead giveaway of how the movie is going to turn out - old gags that try very hard to make you laugh.
What starts out as a pure magical friendship between the two disintegrates into an unhappy partnership as Burt's well-fed ego starts to eclipse every aspect in his life following the duo's 10 year success on the Las Vegas strip.
When a very impressive-looking Jim Carrey appears in the form of modern street magician Steve Gray, things start to go downhill for Burt. Not only has his loyal audience shifted attention to Steve, efforts in trying to win them back unlocks the festering dissatisfaction Burt and Anton have for each other, causing a huge falling out between the two.
The delight of having such a stellar cast in a comedy quickly fades away into disappointment as the movie goes on, dragging humourless comedy that seem forced onto the audience. The character of Burt is aggravatingly annoying with no saving grace. If not for Olivia Wilde's Jane, who is a magician's assistant, expressing her disgust towards Burt on our behalf, he would have been even more irksome to the eye.
Another unfortunate turn for the movie is the underplaying of Anton. Steve Buscemi would have shined as Burt's best friend, but the plot has decided to forgo any effort to mend their friendship, choosing instead to focus on Burt rediscovering his love for magic and settling the differences between the two in an overly simple scene of forgiveness. It feels incredulous that Anton would be willing to forgive Burt so easily after going through years of mental and emotional abuse from the man.
Jim Carrey is refreshing as the arrogant Steve Gray, an exaggerated version of David Blaine. He starts out calm, composed and convinces as a truly formidable threat for Burt. But the funny man too, slowly loses favour as he descends into typical Carrey-style rubber man performance a la Ace Ventura as the movie nears the end.
Things do start to get a little better when Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin) makes an appearance in the old folk's home Burt is forced to work at after losing favour with Doug Munny (James Gandolfini), the billionaire owner of the Las Vegas casino where Burt and Anton were resident performers.
Rance, the magician who inspired Burt to pick up magic in the first place, turns his life around as he gets Burt to go back into performing basics. Do not go looking for a logical explanation behind the magic tricks presented though, as illusions chalked up are purely for entertaining the audience.
Unless you are a fan for any of the comedic stars in the movie, it is not much of a loss to give this a go.Cinema Online, 05 April 2013