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The Incredible Burt Wonderstone Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Making comedy disappear. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 10

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Alan Arkin does the best trick, bringing a dollop of humanity to the role of Rance Holloway, the magician who was young Burt's inspiration. Apart from Rance, the whole production is slovenly nonsense, photographed on the cheap with blaring ghastliness. Yet it poses an intriguing mystery. Did the producers appeal to a denominator even lower than common by making their film as dumb as possible, or did it just turn out that way?

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    What might have been an entertaining, silly comedy opts for pseudo-earnestness over movie magic.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    Enjoyable but as familiar as the old-school routines its magician heroes dish out.

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  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The movie itself is too cautious and unimaginative to bring off what a great magic trick — or comedy — should do: make us laugh out loud with surprise.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Richard Roeper

    This is also one dark and wickedly funny comedy.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

Not enough magic to mostly unfunny Carell-Carrey comedy.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is heavy on scatological and sex humor, as well as cringe-inducing scenes of some Jackass-style stunts, but it doesn't veer completely into over-the-top raunch. Language includes one use of "f--k" and several of "s--t" and "a--hole." Main character Burt is known to bed a different woman from the audience every night; two humorous sex scenes feature bra-clad women and jokes about condom size. The violence is mostly self-inflicted by Burt's rival, a street magician who sleeps on burning coals, cuts his skin, asks to be punched, douses himself with pepper spray, and drills a hole in head -- among other things. And early scenes show a kid being bullied. If you dig under the Vegas-style humor, the two big takeaways are that friendship should be forever, and your career should be your passion, not just what you do for money.

  • Families can talk about why the dueling-magicians premise of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is funny. Have wild stunts taken away from the entertainment value of old-school magic?
  • Why do you think there aren't too many female magicians? Is Burt right that women aren't cut out to be magicians? Is Jane intended to be a role model? What about the male characters?
  • What does the difference between Burt's and Steve's styles say about the nature of entertainment? Is it inevitable that humor and magic are generational and not universal? Kids: Do you think things are funny that your parents don't like, and vice-versa?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: Buried underneath the over-the-top Vegas humor are a couple of positive messages. One is that unconditional friendship should be just that -- unconditional, not based on fame or popularity. The other is that whatever you decide to do with your life should come from a sense of joy and passion, not because of the things it will buy you. Jane's love of magic also shows that women are capable of performing traditionally male-dominated forms of entertainment. And the movie promotes the joy of enjoying the childlike wonder of magic tricks.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Jane isn't interested in simply being a magician's assistant; she wants to be a full magician. Rance Holloway explains that being a magician is about providing a sense of awe and wonderment, not going through the motions for a big paycheck. Anton is a great (and in many ways, only) friend to Burt, but Burt is a jerk to him until he realizes the error of his ways.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: The violence is mostly self-inflicted by magician Steve Gray, whose "street magic" includes dangerous, don't-try-this-at-home stunts like burning himself with a lighter, forcing someone to punch him in the face, cutting open the swelling from a wound, sleeping on burning coals, and drilling a hole in his skull. An early scene includes a child being bullied and punched. A couple of scenes of animals in peril.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Two comedic sex scenes in which women are shown wearing bras and underwear and making out with Burt in bed. Burt has a tradition of picking a woman out of the audience (based on how attractive she is) to help with a trick and then taking her back to his suite to have sex. Burt brags about his quadruple-king bed which can fit "at least" a dozen people. In one of the two sex scenes, Burt and Jane do magic tricks and joke about condoms (she makes a bag of Trojans appear out of nowhere, and he replaces it with Magnum XLs).

  • language false4

    Language: One "f--k," as well as several uses of "s--t," "a--hole," "hell," "ass," "crap," "bitch," "damn," "oh my God," "goddamn," and the possibly offensive (faux) TV show title Brain Rapist. Other insulting/demeaning language.

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Many Las Vegas hotels are featured or mentioned, as are Big Lots, Bounty, and Trojan and Magnum XL condoms.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Adults drink in a few scenes; in one, Burt gets visibly drunk.