Photo: Columbia PicturesIf you liked the basic premise of Christopher Nolan's "The Prestige" but thought it was maybe a little too dark n' dreary, we've got just the trick for you.
The bizarre world of professional illusionists is just as cutthroat as Nolan’s in "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" though definitely played more for laughs, thanks to the comedic stylings of Steve Carell, Jim Carrey and Alan Arkin. You also get James Gandolfini -- who, after this and his oddly hypnotic turn in "Killing Them Softly," seems to now be taking roles that require him to just sit in a chair and be both amusing and intimidating at the same time (which he does brilliantly).
Steve Buscemi is in there somewhere, too, though one of the central conflicts described by the film's synopsis -- the 30-year partnership of Las Vegas stage magicians Burt Wonderstone (Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Buscemi) becoming threatened by off-stage contempt for each other -- is more or less ignored in the trailer, as it instead focuses on Wonderstone's obsession with besting the hot new act in town: a Criss Angel-like street trickster named Steve Gray (Carrey). Indeed, it appears the film does well -- and has a lot of fun -- with presenting these two talented comedians as volatile opposites, with Carell's sad-sack persona clashing with Carrey's fearless outrageousness ("Your skin makes me cry," Gray says to Wonderstone, right around when we were noticing that Carell seems to be wearing stage makeup even when he's not on stage).
It's also nice to see Carell's "Little Miss Sunshine" co-star Alan Arkin as Rance Holloway (perhaps an even better character name than "Burt Wonderstone"), the veteran conjurer who got Burt interested in all this stuff in the first place and becomes a Yoda figure of sorts as the younger performer looks to get his mojo (or, rather, magic) back. Between this, "Argo" and "Stand Up Guys," Arkin's scoring some terrific character roles lately.
Oh, and Olivia Wilde is in this, though you wouldn't really know it until the trailer's amusing final scene. In fact, the trailer very much lacks a feminine presence as it explores both the massive ego and profound insecurity that drives some of our best artists ... and the rather entertaining pratfalls that come when their art is challenged and their personas threatened. You know, like not urinating for 12 days.
"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" will be revealed in theaters on March 15, 2013. In the meantime, check out the trailer below: