"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone:" Critics see no magic in Steve Carell, Jim Carrey comedy

The critics aren't buying this act.

The reviews for "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone"are in, and there doesn't seem to be anything original in this new film starring comedy heavyweights Steve Carell and Jim Carrey.

Carell and co-star Steve Buscemi play a Siegfried and Roy-like duo behind a successful magic act in Las Vegas, until street performer Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) comes along to steal the show. Other co-stars include Olivia Wilde as an assistant, James Gandolfini as a grimy casino owner and Alan Arkin as a veteran magician living in a nursing home.

Most of the critics who've seen "Wonderstone," now in theaters, say it's surprisingly dull and predictable.

While there were a few exceptions, like Richard Roeper and Variety's Joe Leydon, most reviewers aren't in awe of this magic show:

Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal: "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?"

Claudia Puig, USA Today: "Almost as mystifying as what went on in the secret papal conclave this week is why it took a half-dozen credited writers to fashion the forgettable, formulaic and nearly laugh-free script that is 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.'"

Andrew O'Heir, Salon: "This is a really lively, fun and high-spirited comedy. If you leave after half an hour. Stay a full hour, though, and you're stuck in a death spiral of unfunniness."

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: "'Burt Wonderstone' is a lazy, underwritten imitation Will Ferrell movie."

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: "Calling it "The Mildly Diverting Burt Wonderstone" would have been more accurate, but how many tickets is that going to sell?"

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: "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."

Stephen Holden, N.Y. Times: "'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" can't transcend the fundamental problem built into movies and television shows about magic. It isn't really magic if you're watching it second hand."

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: "Near the end, Burt and Anton attempt to make an audience disappear. "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" should have no trouble with that one."

  • Ken Lombardi On Twitter» On Facebook»

    Ken Lombardi is an entertainment reporter for CBS News. He has interviewed over 300 celebrities, including Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks.

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.

Download
The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App