The director of many great 30 Rock episodes turns his hand to feature work with The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, a magic-comedy written by the guys behind Horrible Bosses that sees life-long friends Burt (Steve Carell) and Anton (Steve Buscemi) fight the future of magic, shock trickster Steve (Jim Carrey) and find the spark that ignited their love of magic in the wonders of Vegas. With Olivia Wilde as the brains and beauty of their little world, and James Gandolfini as the money man trying to find the next big hit, all eyes are on the Incredible Burt & Anton or Steve Gray, Brain Rapist.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone takes time to really kick off, as we see young Burt and Anton, before they adopted such stage names, find ways to be loved by others. It's not so much ha-ha and heartfelt. Once the kids grow into Vegas stage-show Burt and Anton, however, the script kicks into gear and a plethora of magic jokes, set-pieces and silliness falls into the audiences laps, and thankfully the rather lame trailer manages not to step on the toes of most of the jokes.
Whilst Wonderstone tries to mix the standard Carell/late-Frat Pack type humour with plenty of sight gags and some cartoony feeling, it works best when it focuses on magic, and why magic is special. Alan Arkin teaching Steve Carell why magic is important, and the crux of what wonder stems from it is one beautiful sequence that gets decent laughs but sustains an honest heart, which is partially why Burt Wonderstone is one of the year's earliest surprises. Anyone with an interest in magic will enjoy that this is a film that relishes, rather than dishes out on, magic, from big old-school acts to more hip, alternate stuff (Although Carrey's Gray is an over-the-top jerk. It doesn't stop his stunt ideas seeming like a not too harsh overview of David Blaine). Burt Wonderstone is Incredible in being a funny comedy, but it's also an earnest, sweet picture too.
When I say it's a funny comedy, I mean it is hysterical, painfully funny. The kind of film that leaves you weeping with laughter. That's no mean feat, and Wonderstone's final half hour is just brilliant jokes thrown onto one another, from one-liners to sight gags, and they almost all work. There's little doubt in my mind that The Incredible Burt Wonderstone will be the funniest film of the year. So many jokes, on so many different levels, and the ones that work often work incredibly well. An excellent cast, a great director, brilliant material, all have found their way to one film that is peppered with brilliance. Just magical.