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Film review: Steve Carell flops in funny 'Burt Wonderstone'

Published March 15, 2013 8:19 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Steve Carell feels out of place as the title character in "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," which makes you wonder why Will Ferrell wasn't available.

Carell's Wonderstone is a Las Vegas magician who's arrogant, not too bright and deliciously self-deluded — a perfect fit for Ferrell, but dissonant with either of Carell's go-to movie personas: the clueless guy or the nice guy.

Burt finds his life on the skids when he breaks up with his longtime stage partner, Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi), and is fired by his casino's boss (James Gandolfini) because his act is too stale. Burt tries to get his mojo back as he faces a new rival in an extreme street magician (Jim Carrey, cutting loose to hilarious effect).

Director Don Scardino (a veteran of "30 Rock" and other sitcoms) gets good mileage from a supporting cast that includes Alan Arkin and Olivia Wilde. But the one trick he can't pull off is making sense of Carell's character, who veers from obnoxious womanizer to sensitive nice guy without enough effort.

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'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone'

Opens Friday, March 15, at theaters everywhere; rated PG-13 for sexual content, dangerous stunts, a drug-related incident and language; 100 minutes.