The Incredible Burt Wonderstone Parent Guide
Sadly, the potential laughs in this movie just disappear with a puff of smoke.
Parent Movie Review
I’m not sure if signing on as a Las Vegas lounge show performer is a wise career move or a last ditch attempt to be on stage. In the case of Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and his long-time friend Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) it appears to be both. As young magicians they ink a deal on the Vegas Strip that brings the illusionists enough fame, free sex and cash to compensate for at least some of the self-esteem issues they suffered during grade school. But after 10 years their routine has grown as uninspired as the velvet, rhinestone-studded suits they wear on stage. And their once adoring audiences have begun to dwindle.
Outside on the streets a new attraction has come to town. Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) doesn’t do traditional magic. Instead he captures the attention of passersby with outrageous stunts like slitting his cheek open with a knife, walking on hot coals and inciting fights. (His act, titled Brain Rape, includes other “stunts” that are easily mimicked and dangerous.) Gray’s goal is to shock rather than entertain, and both his cult following and cable ratings are on the rise.
It’s almost impossible to understand what competition could exist between these two different acts. Yet the hotel owner where Burt and Anton work is so impressed by the crowd response when Steve Gray refuses to urinate for a week that he tells the pair to up their game or forfeit their contract.
However Burt and Anton’s “magical friendship” has of late been a bit tenuous and when their own publicity stunt fails, they find themselves out of work and on the opposite ends of an argument. Unfortunately for Burt, he’s also out of money. Looking for any job he can find, he reluctantly accepts a gig as an entertainer in a retirement home where he meets Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin), the magician who inspired him as a boy.
This parody of lounge acts and reality television never quite captures its comedic timing and often falls as flat as the duo’s one-liners. Even Burt, the sex-driven egomaniac, has become so hackneyed in his sexual conquests that he makes his partners sign a consensual contract before taking them into the bedroom.
The film’s concept of poking fun at everlasting Vegas entertainers, along with the message of staying current and knowing when it’s time to reinvent yourself, should have resulted in many magical moments. Sadly the potential laughs in this movie just disappear with a puff of smoke.Directed by Don Scardino. Starring Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Olivia Wilde, James Gandolfini, Steve Buscemi, Alan Arkin. Running time: 101 minutes. Theatrical release March 15, 2013. Updated July 17, 2017
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Incredible Burt Wonderstone rated PG-13? The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sexual content, dangerous stunts, a drug-related incident and language.
Violence: Frequent “magic” acts involve dangerous and easily mimicked situations including drilling a hole through your skull with a power tool, laying on hot coals, cutting yourself with a knife and pounding a nail with your forehead. In another scene two men fall to the ground from a cage that is dangling a crane—one lands on top of the other resulting in injuries. Characters verbally argue. A man magically places a small dog in another man’s pants.
Sexual Content: A man uses his performing credentials to easily bed women; in one scene we see the beginning of sexual activity. An unmarried man and woman have sex; again we see the beginning of this activity. After a dog is placed in his pants a man makes a sexual remark. Other sexual remarks are heard. Stage crew undresses a woman as she is rushed into a costume—we see her in underwear.
Language: The script includes one sexual expletive, other scatological terms, moderate and mild profanities along with terms of deity.
Drugs/Alcohol: An unnamed drug, derived from a leaf, is used as part of a magic act to put an entire audience to sleep. A character drinks to deal with stress. Social drinking is seen.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone Parents' Guide
What could Burt Wonderstone (the protagonist) have done to prevent his career slump? How are we susceptible to the same issue with our own jobs, family relationships and other life-long activities?
While we don’t recommend this title for children, if they do view it parents will want to discuss the dangerous activities and lack of consequences that are depicted in this movie.
The most recent home video release of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone movie is June 25, 2013. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Release Date: 25 June 2013
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone releases to home video (Blu-ray/DVD/Ultraviolet Combo Pack) with the following extras:
- Deleted Scene & Alternate Takes
- Making Movie Magic with David Copperfield
- Best of The Brain Rapist
- Gag Reel