When a new stunt fails in spectacular fashion, the duo parts ways, and Burt falls on hard times, forced to work as an entertainer in an old folks' home.
Meanwhile, a new star is rising in the person of outrageous street performer Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), who goes by the title "The Brain Rapist." Steve's form of magic involves squeamish physical challenges, such as using his head to pound nails into wood or holding his urine for days on end.
To Steve, magicians such as Burt and Anton are old school and must be destroyed. "It's natural for a dying leaf to be frightened of this autumn wind," he tells Burt.
To make matters worse, Burt and Anton's former assistant, the lovely Jane (Olivia Wilde), has become Steve's aide. But Jane, a magician herself, has a soft spot for the down-and-out Burt, and supports efforts to turn his life around.
"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" takes a decisive wrong turn at its climax — when a big comeback stunt depends more on narcotics than on magic. Coming on top of all the dubious humor on display, this development ramps up the problematic content of the picture — and will leave viewers questioning whether Burt's values have really changed after all.
The film contains a benign view of drug use and contraception, much crude humor, sexual innuendo and occasional profane and rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
McAleer is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.