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Steve Buscemi is Anton Marvelton and Steve Carell is Burt Wonderstone. Photo by Ben Glass.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Available from June 25 until October 31, 2013, at Rogers On Demand (Channel 100) and online at RogersAnyplaceTV.com.

If you’re a Las Vegas magician, it may not be the best idea to put the moves on your beautiful new assistant while you’re both in a wooden box being penetrated by swords.

Innuendo aside, this is a delightful free-for-all satiric comedy, notable for its delirious sense of anarchy. Which is easy to understand, given that the cast includes Steve Carell as Burt, and Steve Buscemi as Anton – two magicians who’ve been friends and partners for 30 years, but who are now on the verge of dissolution thanks to Burt’s arrogance (and, possibly, his sequined purple jumpsuit and out-of-date bouffant hairstyle).

Into this combustible mix arrives Jim Carrey as a tattooed TV cable-show competitor Steve Grey, who is less a magician than a flamboyant masochist. (Power drills into the skull, holding his urine in for 12 days, that kind of thing.) But he’s getting all the attention, while Burt and Anton’s Vegas gig is cancelled and their partnership breaks up. Until, in a home for retired performers, Burt encounters the now-elderly magician (played with cantankerous relish by Alan Arkin) who first inspired his own love of magic.

Burt now needs to win back his old partner and come up with a magnificent, show-stopping finale. Directed by Don Scardino (30 Rock), the film isn’t a conventional comedy. It takes real risks (definitely not for kids) and much of the comedic impetus is fuelled by watching three of the best contemporary comedians playing off one another.

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