Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi play partners Burt and Anton in a wildly successful magic act in Vegas.
Their old-school act, however, loses fans and favor to street performer Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), a cable TV star with long, two-tone hair who specializes in reckless stunts more than true magic. When Burt and Anton, who grow to loathe each other, try to pull off a David Blaine-style feat of endurance, it backfires.
"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" charts what happens in this comedy that, like its leading magicians, is far from edgy. Much of it plays like a TV show at times, with Mr. Carrey's masochistic magician -- going for the record of not blinking or urinating, or doing something insanely dangerous -- a throwback to "In Living Color."
Having said that, "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" is cheesily enjoyable and sporadically funny, thanks to familiar acts (big cats, comedy, peevish partners, a superstar magician) or faces.
In addition to Mr. Carell, Mr. Buscemi and Mr. Carrey, the cast includes Olivia Wilde as Burt and Anton's reluctant assistant and the late James Gandolfini as a casino mogul whose patience wears thin as his magicians' act does.
Halle Berry, with a cloud of curls rather than her signature red-carpet hairstyle, plays Jordan Turner, a veteran emergency call center operator for the LAPD. She and her colleagues offer efficient, calm lifelines to the general public until police, ambulance, fire or other rescue crews can arrive.
One night, Jordan takes a call from a panicked teenager who is home alone when a prowler breaks in. Casey (Abigail Breslin) is kidnapped and stuffed in the trunk of a car.
"The Call" is at its best when Jordan has to use her wits to try to figure out where Casey is, who abducted her and how the girl can signal for help before it's too late.
When the movie closes in on the identity of the kidnapper and his twisted motivations and machinations, it jumps the rails and never returns. It turns from a taut, suspenseful story into a mix of cheap horror -- complete with a loner's pursuit for justice and Ms. Breslin, 16, being forced to play several scenes in a bra and jeans -- and an attempt to settle sadistic scores.
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