Now You See Me? Eh, Not So Much Jun12

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Now You See Me? Eh, Not So Much

imageNow You See Me is pretty decent until the end. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 2.5 stars and a rating of 46%. I’ll give it this, it’s entertaining.

I enjoyed myself while recognizing the entire time how bad it is. The tricks, as extravagant as they are, feel cheap in the way they propel forward a story we have to guess at. The subplot (that I can’t tell you about) is never actually explained so I felt a little cheated by the reveal.

Four magicians are given tarot card invitations to enter into something like a secret pact. They don’t know who chose them, but they do know why – because they’re awesome. They spend a year preparing and then open a show in Vegas wherein they hypnotize, do card tricks, basic illusions, yadayada – until the first grand finale in which they “rob a bank” in Paris. Pretty cool.

Mark Ruffalo and some French blonde from Interpol are brought in to solve the case. Ruffalo is PISSED about it. He never lets up from the grumpy pants attitude the entire time, to the point where I started to wish he’d Hulk out and be done with it.

Enter Morgan Freeman as the guy that reveals magicians tricks via DVD to make money because he has some kind of grudge against magicians.

They’ll explain that to you, kind of. Morgan takes The Hulk and the blonde through the entire sequence of how they did it. Which really makes the caper anticlimactic, but clever in how it’s pulled off.

I was a little bummed to learn the trick, I have to admit. Maybe it’s in the way they did the reveal – a point by point lesson in straightforward deception.

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In one of the worst expository subplots I can remember, the blonde detective decides to do a little research on the history of magic so she can “get into their minds” (as if) and comes up with a “really clever” reason for their chicanery.

Can’t they just be a bad group of magicians that want to steal and play Robin Hood? No, that can’t be the reason. Instead, there has to be some really ridiculous explanation that is in no way connected to anything plausible. And by golly if she isn’t right.

Well The Hulk ain’t buying it because that’s just silly talk and he’s gonna get them for playing tricks on him! Like, he is really adamant about getting these guys at any cost. For someone who wanted nothing to do with the case to begin with, the whole thing feels kind of lazy.

Let me tell you what else feels kind of lazy. Smashing a love story into the middle of this entire thing between two people that have zero chemistry on screen. I hate it when a movie has to add that element for the sake of, what? It didn’t help here, Summit Entertainment, knock it off.

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The story follows all the basics in screenwriting requirements (see above love story) and throws in as many twists and turns as possible (like who IS Morgan Freeman anyway and what side is he actually on?) whether they make sense to the storyline or not.

Which is infuriating at times (read: the end). The acting is fine. If you hate Jesse Eisenberg on a regular day, you’ll extra hate him here. Woody Harrelson plays the likeable scuzball he always plays. Isla Fisher smiles a lot and is pretty. Mark Ruffalo squints through his dialed in grump fest.

You know, the performances you would expect from each actor.

It’s the implausible stupid freaking storyline they came up with to explain the reason we’re watching this movie to begin with that has me in a huff. It’s so lazy. And to top it off – that thing the blonde detective was right about – they NEVER explain what or why or how. We’re just supposed to accept that it IS and leave it at that. And the twist! Screw you movie!

That said, if you don’t pay much attention to plot in general and you think magic tricks are cool, then you’ll dig the crap out of this movie. You should go.