Tuesday 19 March 2013

Review: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

World of Blackout 77-Word Film Review

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone Poster

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Cert: 15 / 100 mins / Dir. Don Scardino

Imagine, if you will, what you expect a co-headlining Jim Carrey / Steve Carrell movie to be like. Now if you're still on-board, welcome in, that'll be £8.60 plus your drinks and popcorn, sit where you like there's plenty of room. Everyone else? You're right, it's not for you. Although it was never going to be.

The film is as entirely predictable as that trailer, (you've just seen the best gags) if nowhere near as tight. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is so mechanically structured and delivered you can almost see the scriptwriters pedalling in the background. When it works, it's chucklesome at best. When it doesn't, it's painful*1. Although there's an intentional campy one-upmanship to the proceedings, I suspect this storyline about two ageing performers constantly trying to shout louder than one another for desperate attention has been applied without a shred of self-awareness or irony. I'm genuinely amazed that Adam Sandler doesn't have an appearance anywhere.

But it's not all bad. The film shrugs its shoulders and asks '…well, what were you expecting?' And it has a point. This crudely applied slapstick of torn-trousers and drillbits-to-the-head is exactly what I expected. I did chuckle at some of the jokes, and I did smile at the end when the soundtrack told me to. In its own half-arsed way, it delivers. It doesn't deliver much, but it never promised it.

I expect many people to tear this film a new one and be very sniffy about it*2, but you already knew what was on the menu when you saw the poster, never mind watched the trailer. You only have yourselves to blame. As do I.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Yeah… yeah.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
Oh, probably.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
DVD. At a push. Pay no more than £4.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Afraid so.

Will I watch it again?
Not unless drunk.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

*1 You have to wonder what kind of scriptwriting meetings resulted in the decision to use the word 'rapist' as a running joke. Nope, not even kidding.
*2 Yes, including me. What of it?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.


  1. I knew how the movie would play out and where all the characters were going to end up and it took me out of the movie, even if I did laugh a couple of times. Not too many. Good review.

  2. A really good entertainer. I agree that Jim Carrey's magic acts where a bit too violent for a family movie, overall the movie succeeded in entertaining the entire group. The attempt at humour at times seems over-the-top but in a movie about entertainers, this is acceptable.