Film release schedules are awfully predictable. In summer, brainless blockbusters boasting superheroes, explosions, aliens, and other pyrotechnics hit the big screen. Between Halloween and Christmas Day, studios pull out their big guns to vie for both awards at the Golden Globes and the Oscars and ticket sales during the holidays. During January and February, cinematic duds get to shine—gratuitously violent and uneven films, low-budget horror movies and bad romances.
But March and April are the awkward months, standing between the junk and the dog day fare. And the "magical" comedy The Incredible World of Burt Wonderstone and the 3-D animated adventure The Croods are good examples of what Hollywood gives us this time of year: films that are too polished for January or February, too humdrum for the summer, and too hackneyed for awards season.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is the story of two partner magicians, Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi), whose careers and life-long friendship end when edgy street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) and his cable TV program "Brain Raped" hit the scene. But the film revels in predictability and never achieves the comedy it should, given its hilarious cast and promising premise. The viewer might suspect the folks at Warner Bros. planned to put out in the summer, thinking it would sell like a Will Ferrell comedies.
Despite its disappointingly literal setup—the straightforward humor, the trite romance between Wonderstone and his assistant (Olivia Wilde)—the film's few subtleties work. In a shot that highlights the new casino of Doug Munny (Marvelton and Wonderstone's billionaire boss, played by an on-point ...