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Can The Incredible Burt Wonderstone work its magic on the critics?
From New Line and Warner Bros., the film centers on Los Vegas magician Wonderstone (Steve Carell) as he teams with his partner (Steve Buscemi) to combat an up and coming street magician (Jim Carrey). Also featuring Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin, and James Gandolfini, the film is on track to earn just $11 million for a soft opening weekend. It earned a C+ CinemaScore from moviegoers and holds a 39 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
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Read what some of the critics had to say below.
The Hollywood Reporter’s John DeFore writes that director Don Scardino’s film isn’t as “fresh” as his work on NBC’s 30 Rock. He calls the movie “a showbiz tale that’s enjoyable but as familiar as the old-school routines its magician heroes dish out.”
Chicago Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper praises Carrey’s performance and calls the film an “often terrific absurdist comedy. He likens it to a Will Ferrell sports film, minus Ferrell and the sports.
“In plot and tone, in a screenplay recipe that’s two parts lunatic comedy and one part shameless sentimentality with a dash of romance thrown in, this magic-themed buddy movie isn’t so different from Blades of Glory or Kicking & Screaming or Semi-Pro or Talladega Nights,” Roeper writes.
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The New York Times’ Stephen Holden heaps praise upon Carrey.
“He steals every scene in which he appears with his scary-funny depiction of the entertainer as sociopath who would as soon murder you as make you laugh,” writes Holden. “Except for Mr. Carrey’s scenes, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone… is an agreeable if squishy fable about the magic of magic and the need to rediscover the true believer within.”
Time Magazine‘s Mary Pols says Wonderstone largely works, though not all the time. “This may be the kind of semi-bad, semi-inspired comedy that could not only stand repeated viewings but perhaps improve with them,” she writes.
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In her two-star review, The Washington Posts’ Ann Hornaday gives muted praise to the cast, writing its members aren’t at their best, but are also not at their worst.
“In the hands of better writers, Carell and his co-stars would have had more to do,” she writes. “As it stands, the movie’s saggy, formulaic plot and Don Scardino’s stodgy direction lead viewers from sight gag to punch line to sight gag, culminating in a perversely amusing final sequence that, one suspects, also serves as a darkly apt metaphor for the filmmakers’ own feelings about their audience.”
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