The new Steve Carell/Jim Carrey joint, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, is a by-the-numbers, riches-to-rags-to-riches comedy with a rom-com sub-plot. If I've just demystified it by explaining the formula behind the trick, well, good magicians aren't supposed to do that.
Good magicians aren't supposed to do a lot of things, and the reason why The Incredible Burt Wonderstone has such a formulaic plot is that we need something semi-stable to frame gag after gag about magicians doing things they really shouldn't.
Is it funny? Well, yes. It earns the PG-13 rating to the point that my teenagers won't be comfortable with it (read: "will walk out of the room if I rent it") but the gags are pretty good. I'm not a Steve Carell fan, but I like Steve Buscemi, and love watching Olivia Wilde. Oh, and Alan Arkin is wonderful. In fact, if the movie has flaws... you know, let me re-start that sentence. The movie has flaws, lots of them, but if they were to remake it as something I'd truly love, it would be a daughter-father story featuring Olivia Wilde and Alan Arkin, with Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, and Jim Carrey in the sidelines to add color, and maybe some noises.
In short, those three guys in the poster above? Sideshow.
Sadly, my least favorite part of the movie was the magic. There wasn't enough of it, and it was rarely presented in a way that evoked a sense of wonder. Perhaps that was the point? I don't know.
Did I have fun? Yes. And the audience around me was laughing a lot, which is either a good sign or a sign of the times. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone comes in at number 5 for me so far this year.