FILM REVIEWED BY CRITIC, FILM BUFF & BEER CONNOISSEUR F.P. BLUCK
PLACE: 10:10, Hoyts Woden, Cinema 8.
PIC: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.
PEOPLE: One, un, uno, ein.
If one is the only one in an enormous cinema, and one still sits in the allocated seat, should one give a damn?
The ads include the now-grating PillowTalk summer ad – we’ve been having single digit nights for a while here, and summer is probably over. Other highlights include Nepali food, sportspeople counselling against drinking and driving. Lexus. More previews than one could possibly absorb and enough to create some concern about what was about to appear. The Host (Stephenie Meyers and aliens or something), Iron-Man 3, GI Joe:Retaliation, Man of Steel*. And Scary Movie 5, which looks like the usual chundering of cliches, but this time with Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan**. How the potentially quite good have fallen!
And it was a decline from grace that we (well, I) saw in the feature. The small boy who became Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) was small, geeky and neglected in 1982 but found a love of magic and a friend, who became his side-kick/co-star Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi).
Years later, they strut the stage At Bally Casino in Las Vegas, delivering the same show every night for proprietor Doug Munny (James Gandolfini), while leading a life of prodigal luxury. The fall is fast, with the arrival of Steve Gray, the Brain Rapist (Jim Carrey), a magician whose work and persona are provocative, abrasive and disturbing. The team breaks up, and finds different grades of misery while Steve Gray goes from strength to strength and Burt finds counsel in the old magician Rance Holloway (well-played by Alan Arkin.)
So, will the boys get back together? Will they recover their old status? Will Steve Gray get a big smack in the face with a hubris pie? Will Burt get Jane (Olivia WIlde) the girl he really loves**? Is this an American movie?
This movie is pretty competent and fairly harmless, the latter of which is its main problem. Even the out-there stunts of Steve Gray are merely unpleasant rather than genuinely confronting. Probably safe for most audiences, like most big-stage magic acts. But there is, with respect, no magic in it.
Two skinny flat whites. Some kind of artificially-sweetened, gluten-free pretend biscuit.
* – yup, another Superman movie. This time, though, there seem to be some lovely shots of small-town America before the silliness starts.
** – he could have been a great actor, but remains my wished-for role model. She less so.
*** – he’s 50, she’s 32. Has my whole life been missing something?