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The Incredible Burt Wonderstone [2013] [PG-13] - 5.5.5



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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Two magicians on the Las Vegas strip (Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi) are at the top, but after a long association and a stale act their friendship begins to fray. When competition appears from a street magician (Jim Carrey) who performs dangerous physical stunts they are prompted to get back to basics. Also with Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin and James Gandolfini. Directed by Don Scardino. [1:40]

SEX/NUDITY 5 - A man and a woman kiss for a prolonged time, they hop onto a twin bed where he pulls her bra off through her blouse sleeve and she pulls a wrapped condom from behind his ear (he passes his hand over it and changes it into a large and more expensive brand) and sex is implied.
 A woman and a man kiss while reclined and clothed on a chaise lounge in his hotel suite, they enter the bedroom after she signs a waiver that she is over 18 and can participate in sex acts, and she shouts, "It's huge!" off screen; we then see into the room and note that she is looking at an enormous bed as the man stands across the room, and the scene cuts to her alone, face-down in the bed the next morning (sex overnight is implied), wearing a bra and panties that reveal her bare back, arms, legs and part of the lower buttocks.
 A woman throws a man out of her apartment when he tries to kiss her. A man and a woman embrace in front of a fountain at night, but do not kiss.
 A middle-aged street magician is shown shirtless twice, revealing chain tattoos on his biceps, shoulders, torso and parts of his waist; the words "Escape from what?' are tattooed across his back, both ears are triple-pierced and he calls himself The Brain Rapist.
 Several female magician's assistants and volunteers from the audience wear skimpy outfits such as one-piece swimsuits with fringe and sequins, and micro-mini dresses with deep V-necklines that reveal legs, bare shoulders and arms and significant cleavage and one woman's bosom bounces as she runs. Dressers rip the blouse off a new magician's assistant and we see her bra and a little cleavage briefly; the dressers put a mini dress on her and she ties to pull it down lower on her thighs, to no avail, and we see a little cleavage again, above the scoop neckline. A male magician wears an open-necked jacket that reveals his sternum area. A man is shown lying under a sheet having a massage and we see his bare shoulders, arms and lower legs. A magician suspended in a glass box above a crowd for a week struggles with another man in the box and accidentally pulls down the second man's trousers to reveal plaid shorts, bare knees and lower legs. A man wears a large bathrobe that reveals his lower legs above socks and shoes.
 In Vegas, two men and a woman dance with writhing movements in a close line on a stage and one man says to the audience, "We're here to do magic, not Nicole," implying sex. A woman enters a man's bathroom where he is in a bubble bath and we see his head and arms above the tub rim; she approaches the tub and yells, "Oh my God!" then turns away and the man says that the bubbles must have evaporated.
 A man asks a woman if she is a lesbian and she denies it; he says it's OK if she is, because he has slept with lots of lesbians. A man jokingly says he is having an affair with an elderly woman in a rest home and she smiles. A magician suspended in a glass box above a crowd for a week announces that he will not be able to have sex for 7 days. We hear that a magician has sex every night with different women in his bed that sleeps 24 people. A young boy has a prescription bottle of testosterone pills at lunch and tells a school mate that they are given to him because he is too much like a girl.

VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - A man stands on a stage and with a hand drill, drills a long bit into the top side of his skull causing his eyes to cross and he slurs his speech; two men help him off stage and we see his head bandaged, the drill bit still stuck in his head and some blood around the base of the bit (brain damage is evident).
 A shirtless man walks on a long bed of hot coals (we see steam rising), he lies down, face-up on the coals, tells an audience that they can now smell his flesh cook and alternately snores and screams loudly several times; the next day, we see him cook his forearm over large candle flames on a birthday cake and he turns to show the camera his red and black flesh on which has been carved "Happy Birthday, Judah" (we see some blood). A man pounds a nail into a table with his forehead, falls down, gets up, falls down again and then gets up and staggers away.
 Four bullies in grade school chase a smaller boy, force him to eat tree bark and then one bully punches him in the stomach; the injured boy doubles over and groans, but straightens and walks away.
 A man in a crowded street throws a fireball at another man, whose jacket sleeve smolders when the flame extinguishes; the first man insults the second man into hitting him in the face, felling him to the ground; the first man gets up and we see his cheek swell until he cuts it with a large knife (we see some blood) and then pulls a folded up playing card from inside his cheek and we see red tissue briefly. We see a man sew up his cheek in close-up and place butterfly tapes on it (the cut is about 4 inches long and bruised).
 The film portrays three male magicians participating in several dangerous stunts for audiences: Two of the men suspend themselves above a busy street, high in the air, in a Plexiglas box and nearly fall out and one of the men has a panic attack and screams about claustrophobia; both of the men scream and nearly fall out of the box when a doorway breaks open and one man hangs from the other's ankles as the first one hangs from the bottom of the doorway until they both fall to the ground and one man suffers two broken ankles and several broken ribs and the two men argue loudly and the injured man cries as he is placed into an emergency vehicle. A magic act includes a false hanging where a hooded body with a rope around its neck falls partially through a trap door, but the man is not harmed when he removes the hood. Another stunt includes a man and a woman inside a school locker as another man runs steel swords through pre-made slots, very close to the occupants' bodies; we see a fireball on one of the swords pass into the locker (no one is hurt).
 In Cambodia a man gives a starving child a pet bunny and as the child walks away, he pulls out a knife, implying that he will eat the rabbit. A dove inside a large community room in a retirement home flies into a sliding glass door, falls to the floor, gets up and staggers off screen.
 A Vegas magician appears in a bar twice, with bandages on his throat and then around his throat and up one side of his face (no blood is shown) and he tells patrons that he works with big cats that claw him when they are jealous. A TV newscast shows a man who is holding his urine as a stunt for 12 days; he grimaces and a fake doctor says that the man now has more urine than blood, so he should be dead. A man tells some other men that he calls himself The Brain Rapist, because he takes nightmares and makes them into realities. A man and a woman each admit they were bullied as children, even by their imaginary friends.
 Two men argue over a small dog and one man says he'll smash it as he stuffs the animal down the other man's pants; it comes out unharmed. Two male magicians argue and cry several times, and in one scene, one of the men has running mascara on his face.
 A crew dressed in black moves sleeping audience members by picking them up, dragging some down stairs by the feet, pulling some along by the arms and tossing all of them nonchalantly into the back of trucks to reseat them in chairs in an open field; one man in the audience falls asleep and drools, wiping the drool on his sleeve as he awakens, another man has a few facial bruises, which a woman covers with makeup before he awakens, and a magician is shown holding an artificial leg that someone lost in the move. Inside a retirement home, we see many older men and women in wheelchairs or using walkers.
 For a joke, an elderly magician pretends to die at his rest home in a hospital bed, gagging and gurgling while two younger magicians look on, horrified; he then throws a smoke bomb on the floor and slides under the bed to disappear. Two magicians plan to drug a 1000-member audience (please see the Substance Use category for more details) until one man says that someone could die or the magicians could go to prison.

PROFANITY 5 - At least 1 F-word, 2 sexual references, 13 scatological terms, 5 anatomical terms, 10 mild obscenities, name-calling (fools, stupid, jerk, hot mess, walking mannequin, sweaty walrus man, whore, Whore-othy, pompous, pathetic, hack, dumb jock, slop, gobbledygook, train wreck), stereotypical references to Jews, magicians, retired actors, Las Vegas showmen, night club owners, male competition, show offs, bullies, women, senior citizens, exclamations (shut up), 7 religious profanities, 14 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - We see a man inject a tincture from a plant into his neck with a hypodermic needle and he falls from his chair unconscious, we hear that a sedative is used because the people do not have food and clean water and that at least they can knock themselves out for an hour, two magicians receive a delivery of several large cases of Cambodian tea which they cook in a stockpot and when they lift the lid twice to smell the concoction we see them fall unconscious, two magicians cook a sedative gas under the floor of a nightclub and gas the audience (the magicians use gas masks), huge clouds of white gas come up through the vents in the floor of a nightclub and put the audience to sleep immediately, and an eight-year-old boy brings out three prescription bottles containing asthma medication and allergy medication along with testosterone. Men and women drink from glasses of mixed cocktails and from glasses of beer in several bar and dining room scenes, a man drinks from a champagne bottle and slurs his words, a bottle of brandy and a glass of it are shown on a man's bathtub rim (we do not see him drink), a man keeps a bottle of whiskey and a glass half full on his nightstand in a motel (we do not see him drink), a man drinks from a cocktail glass in a bar in a few scenes, and a man holds a partially filled Martini glass at a child's birthday party.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Bullying, self-confidence, friendship, respect, honesty, magic, Las Vegas performers, physical mutilation, aging, drugging people without consent.

MESSAGE - Friendship and the wonders of life are more important than fame and fortune.

Special Keywords: S5 - V5 - P5 - MPAAPG-13

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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