THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE directed by Don Scardino, written by Jonathan M. Goldstein and John Francis Daley, with Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde and Jim Carrey. A Warner Bros. release. 100 minutes. Opens Friday (March 15). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NNN
Written by Jonathan M. Goldstein and John Francis Daley and directed by 30 Rock veteran Don Scardino, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a pleasantly dopey comedy about a self-absorbed stage magician (Steve Carell) who falls on hard times when his partner, Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi), abandons him and street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) presents a 21st-century challenge to his decidedly late-90s showmanship.
Goldstein and Daley do the same thing they did with Horrible Bosses, setting a bunch of weird characters loose to see how they bounce off one another without worrying too much about things like pacing or plotting. As a result, Burt Wonderstone sometimes feels too enamoured of its own silliness.
But the silliness is essential; without it, both Carell's and Carrey's characters would just be assholes. This way at least they're endearingly goofy assholes. And extra points to Carrey for making sure we see the artifice behind Steve Gray's obsession with "authenticity."