Steven Carrell and Steven Buscemi comprise the act of longtime Vegas magicians Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton (think David Copperfield, who actually brieflly appears ). The two are friends since childhood but the act is now tired and old and the 2 can’t stand each other. With casino mogul James Gandolfini pressuring them to update their gig, street guerilla magician Steve Gray (think Chris Angel/David Blaine) is wowing crowds and threatening to replace them.
Carrell’s Wonderstone is absurdly pompous and self-absorbed, cartoonish and just detestible. He’s so intolerable, the act keeps losing its female sidekick (who he always calls Nicole) . Olivia Wilde plays the latest Nicole (real name Jane) and more than holds her own against these comedic greats.
Jim Carrey positively steals the movie. He’s at the height of his game as a street magician who’s more a force of physical extremes than anything else.
There are two movies in this film- the first is a broad absurd comedy. The movie magic is the second half, as soon as the treasure that is Alan Arkin appears, living in an old age home of retired Vegas performers. Arkin’s Rance Holloway is the old school legend who inspired Wonderstone’s love for magic as a bullied, geeky kid. Once Arkin enters, he ridiculous ends and the film finds its heart and humanity.
Despite its unevenness, this is one funny film. I couldn’t stop laughing at times. So yeah, this one has comedy magic.