1. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Warner Brothers, 3,160 Theaters, 100 Minutes, Rated PG-13): I want to want to see this film, but there are nagging doubts that want me to go completely gaga over it. The plot involves a Siegfried and Roy type of act consisting of Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) who ruled the Vegas Strip until an trick went wrong and caused the team to separate. Wonderstone had some success on his own, until a Criss Angel/David Blaine like street magician named Steve Grey (Jim Carrey) arrives on the scne. Grey’s edgy magic is a big draw, and he begins stealing audiences away from Burt. Now, Burt is forced to combat this new competition with his assistant Jane (Olivia Wilde), his mentor Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin) and Anton, if Burt can convince him to come back.
Carell and Carrey (sharing the big screen for the third time, if you count their voice work in Horton Hears a Who) can be good in these roles. Buscemi, Arkin and James Gandolfini (who plays a casino owner) are always solid. And there is lots to be mined from the old champion trying to fight off the young up and comer plot.
However, even though he’s getting good reviews, I think Carrey’s part should have gone to a younger actor. He’s the same age as Carell, so the young up and comer aspect is pretty much lost. And really, let’s be honest, if the tiger didn’t get hungry, Siegfried and Roy would still be performing today. Vegas is still home to a number of similar illusionists, and burlesque shows, and aging pop stars, and hypnotists and…well, let’s just say the main conceit of Carrey’s character stealing Carell’s audience just doesn’t work for me.
2. The Call (TriStar, 2,507 Theaters, 95 Minutes, Rated R): For the second weekend in a row, we have a film produced by WWE Studios. One starring Academy Award-winner Halle Berry and Academy Award-nominee Abigail Breslin no less.
Berry plays a 911 operator who is still haunted by the part she played in a serial killer’s murder of a young woman. Years later, she helps out on the call of another woman only to find it’s the same serial killer at play. Now she gets a second chance to save a girl’s life. Will she succeed?
It must be a week for plots I find implausible. Having the same 911 operator be involved with calls involving the same serial killer would only work if the the killer was one of the most prolific in the last century. The trailer says he’s not. But having Berry travel to the crime scene? That is nigh impossible.