VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)

Clio: 2.8/5 stars, 5.8/10.
Carolyn: 2.6/5 stars, 5/10.
Native ratings: 3.2/5 stars Netflix, 5.9/10 IMDB.

Man. This movie had such potential. The main cast is Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey, Olivia Wilde, and (less so) James Gandolfini (Sopranos!) and Alan Arkin (The Change-Up, Argo, Gattaca, Grosse Pointe Blank, The Last Unicorn, Edward Scissorhands).

These are all great actors.

The premise was suspicious — rival magicians? Well, it’s just ridiculous enough that it could work! They make fun of Criss Angel, and do make a valid point that these new “magicians” aren’t doing tricks… They are doing stunts, and that’s not “magic”.

It’s directed by the 30 Rock director. People say that’s funny, right?  Well at this point, I’m less likely to watch 30 Rock than ever… Because this movie FELL FLAT. Let’s look at who wrote it… A guy involved in Shit My Dad Says (the show). If I’d known that… I’d probably have steered clear of this movie. The other writer was Mitch from the movie Waiting, but yea… These guys don’t write funny things I’ve heard of.

So yes. Magic-partner buddy bromance with a side of romance, and a side of friendship. Many ingredients that could have worked together well, but ultimately did not.

 

This movie is hollow and fell flat. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t that good.

There were definitely laughs, and a scene or two I’ll never forget in my entire life. But I don’t know if it was worth our time. Perhaps we would have enjoyed it better if we had seen The Prestige.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0790628/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Youth In Revolt (2009)

Clio: 3.4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.3/5 stars Netflix, 6.5/10 IMDB.

This was decent. It was sort of a romance/comedy/drama — a rom-com that is a bit heavier on the romance than on the comedy.

It was still funny a lot of the time, in part because it had this vague Fight Club-ish weirdness to it. Michael Cera developing another personality in order to get with the girl. He needs to be bad to get himself kicked out of his mom’s house to go life with his dad, so he develops a split personality disorder.

There are actually several moments where this movie is basically a disturbing psychological thriller…. But then the comedy or the romance kicks in, so it doesn’t stay disturbing throughout (like, say, Fight Club, or The Number 23).

Definitely an interesting and entertaining romantic comedy — with a side-serving of disturbingness.  And definitely the widest range of acting I’ve ever seen coming from Michael Cera (which isn’t saying much).
Directed by Miguel Arteta (3 eps of Six Feet Under, 1 ep of The Office).
Based on a novel by C.D. Payne, who had a cameo as “neighbor on porch”.

Starring Michael Cera (Superbad, Arrested Development, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Juno, Childrens Hospital) as Nick Twisp / Francois, and Portia Doubleday (relative beautiful newcomer) as Sheeni Saunders.

M. Emmet Walsh (Big Guy And Rusty The Boy Robot, The Iron Giant, Wild Wild West, Twilight) as her strict religious dad, and Mary Kay Place (Smashed, Being John Malkovich, Pecker, Girl Interrupted, 6 eps of My So-Called Life) as her strict religious mom.

Cera’s family is: Jean Smart (Designing Women, Martha Logan in 24, Pickles Oblong in The Oblongs, I Heart Huckabees) as the mom, and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, Between Two Ferns, Visioneers, Tim & Eric, It’s Kind Of A Funny Story, Due Date) as her douchebag boyfriend, and Steve Buscemi as his dad. His mom’s later boyfriend is Ray Liotta (Observe And Report, Date Night, Blow, Hannibal, Field Of Dreams).

Cera’s friends are: Erik Knudsen (Scream 4, Scott Pilgrim, Degrassi:TNG) as his friend Lefty, and Adhir Kalyan (3 eps as Dr. Raj Paresh in Nip/Tuck, Fired Up!) as Vijay Joshi.

Fred Willard has a small part as their neighbor, Mr. Ferguson.

Jonathan B. Wright as the rival boyfriend, Trent. He played a beefy guy in Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Seems a lot of Nick & Norah people were in this movie, such as:

Ari Graynor (Caroline in Nick And Norah, What’s Your Number?, 4 eps of The Sopranos, Date Night) as Lacey.

Justin Long (Unsupervised, Funny People, Zack And Miri Make A Porno, Dodgeball) as Paul Saunders, the girl’s brother.

Rooney Mara (The Social Network, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo remake, A Nightmare On Elm Street remake) as Taggarty.

And oh, there’s an old man played by Michael Collins. He’s the astronaut who went to the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and had to stay in the ship and not step foot on the moon. Is his minor role (that nobody noticed) in this movie a symbol of his moon role? Nobody rememebers him. I don’t know his name. Most don’t. And now he’s in a movie where nobody will remember him. That’s too bad. :/

By the way: There was a pilot for a TV series of this made in 1998 for MTV: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0173998/combined

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0403702/combined