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Steve Carrell takes center stage as an arrogant, dickish magician who finally gets his comeuppance in Don Scardino’s “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”, a comedy that explores what it really means to be a magician. Okay, not really. It’s a comedy that’s actually pretty funny, though, with a deadpan performance from Carrell and a pretty impressive cast that includes Olivia Wilde, Steve Buscemi, and Jim Carrey, playing a street magician who also hosts his own cable talk show called, get this, “Brain Rapist”. I kid you not. “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” appears on DVD and Blu-ray this June 25, 2013.
Before he became The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Steve Carrell’s character was just Burt Wonderstone (or, well, he wasn’t even actually named that, as it turns out). Thanks to the power of magic, our hero conjures up a lifelong friend, manages to avoid being beaten up by bullies, survives an inattentive mom, and grows up to be a famous Las Vegas magician, entertaining millions and wowing totally hot female audience members into his totally ginormous bed where he, we can only assume, has crazy sex with them. Ah, the life of a famous magician. Unfortunately for our hero, it doesn’t last.
Enter street magician Steve Gray (Carrey), who does “magical” things like cut open his own cheek, hammer nails with his forehead, hold in his urine, and actually sleep on hot coals. Yeah, give me the Burt Wonderstone kind of magic anyway. Unfortunately for our hero, his kind of magic just isn’t doing it for crowds anymore, and after his partnership with childhood buddy Anton (Buscemi) goes awry and the owner (the late James Gandolfini) of the hotel where he’s been working for the last 10 years dumps him, ol Burt is on the streets. His only hope is to get some help from aspiring magician/magician’s assistant Jane (Wilde) and, if at all possible, find his love for magic once again. Or something like that.
If you took a pass on the “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” when it hit theaters earlier this year (and judging by the box office numbers, most of you did), then you missed out on a pretty funny comedy. Although it’s never laugh-out loud funny (though a last-minute tag about how Burt and Anton achieve their greatest magic act had me in stitches), “Wonderstone” is rarely boring, even if the script is a tad predictable. At just over 90 minutes, I wouldn’t have minded another extra 10 or 20 minutes to make Burt’s transformation from uber douche to nice guy again a little more gradual. It feels a tad rushed, but I didn’t really mind it too much.
If entertainment is the name of the game, you probably won’t go wrong with “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”. Jim Carrey’s Criss Angel character is hilarious, if obscenely, well, obscene, and I guess I’ve always been a fan of Carrell’s form of comedy. Jay Mohr and Michael Herbig, as fellow magician friends of Burt, get some laughs, and it’s bittersweet to see Gandolfini as a Vegas hotel magnate who can’t remember his own son’s age and doesn’t even seem especially bothered by it.
Special features on the Blu-ray disc include a handful of featurettes, including “Steve Gray UNCUT”, an 8-minute faux “best of” show from fictional Steve Gray’s cable show “Brain Rapist”. It’s mostly extended versions of all the tricks he did in the movie. “Making Movie Magic with David Copperfield” is another 8-minute featurette that shows how real-life famous magician David Copperfield came up with an original trick for the movie, and apparently Copperfield kept popping up throughout the film in disguised cameos, though I think most of them ended up getting cut out. There is a decent 4-minute gag reel and a whopping 26 minutes of deleted scenes and alternate takes.