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The slightly mediocre 'Burt Wonderstone'

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A review of New Line Cinema's 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone'

By Becca Owsley

What is advertised as incredible should more accurately be called slightly funny in Steve Carell’s latest film.

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The title role in “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” is not much of a departure for Carell. If you’ve seen his character Michael Scott on television’s “The Office,” you’ve basically met Burt Wonderstone. He’s Scott with a spray tan, sequins and a velvet outfit performing magic — a little less Scranton, a little more Vegas.

Wonderstone is just as awkward and oblivious to his inappropriateness as Scott while still finding a way to be liked by the audience. Fans of Carell’s work in “The Office” will probably like this movie.

But it’s not laugh-out-loud funny. In fact, some of the funniest parts are in the trailer, so you’ve likely seen them already. There aren’t too many surprises left for the theater.

But it ends sweet and Wonderstone finds his way back into the hearts of his friends and magic fans in Vegas, much like Scott did in most episodes of “The Office.”

The similarities can’t be missed.

One interesting point the movie addresses is the battle between classical and modern forms of magic, the latter being mostly stunts.

Wonderstone’s nemesis in the film is a shock-stunt artist played by Jim Carrey (“Mr. Popper’s Penguins”). The film explores the question of which is real magic.

I pose a similar question in the world of comedy: Do many movies today include real comedy or are most studios depending on shock comedy to fill seats?

I’m not sure where this film falls. It doesn’t depend on shocking moments, but it does lean more on the side of slapstick at times.

Carrey’s role uses a lot of the physical comedy and face pulls that made him famous.

“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” is OK and not as bad as some of the reviews I’ve read from other critics say it is.

The film also stars Steve Buscemi (TV’s “Boardwalk Empire”), Olivia Wilde (“Cowboys and Aliens”), James Gandolfini (“Zero Dark Thirty”) and Alan Arkin (“Argo”).

It has sweet moments near the end, but is probably a movie that’s better to wait and rent or download; whatever the kids are doing these days.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com. For movie reviews, go to her
reporter page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Becca-Owsley/96924584861.

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