In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Lazy, terrible, ineffective, clunky, downright crap.”
OK, so it’s only August but I’m calling it. Now You See Me is the worst movie of 2013 that I’ll see. That’s not to say it’s worse than the latest Wayans Brothers joint, or The Great Gatsby. I’m sure they’re worse, but I’ll never actually see them. Now You See Me has the honour of actually suckering me in, causing me to commit almost two hours of my life to this train wreck. Hey, maybe this movies is magic… Black, evil magic.
I’m not sure what’s less convincing in Now You See Me, the premise that magicians are treated by adoring crowds like rock stars, or that floppy hair and a few days without a shave make Jesse Eisenberg a badass. So, Eisenberg is a slight of hand specialist, Woody Harrelson is a hypnotist, Dave Franco plays Matt Damon’s character form the Oceans franchise and Isla Fisher wears a series of short skirts. Together, they are, the Four Horseman! But the cast doesn’t end there. We also have a slumming Mark Ruffalo, the French broad from Inglorious Basterds and some stellar cheque cashing performances from Michael Cain and Morgan Freeman.
Seriously, how do you convince this many people to make something this craptacular? I assume Eisenberg took the role purely because he gets his name first and his picture biggest on the poster. For Franco and Fisher it’s probably the biggest budget, most high profile movie they’ve ever been a part of, I get it. Freeman and Cain have a history of making any old shit if the money’s right and also, they’re old and probably a bit demented by this stage. But Ruffalo… Why, Ruffalo? Why?!?! You’ve already got the Avengers franchise to pay for that beach house, you don’t need to lower yourself to this garbage.
You know what makes a good twist? It’s something you never saw coming, but the second it does, you can’t believe you didn’t call it in the first scene. A really great twist even holds up on repeat viewings when you start to see clues that make you feel like even more of an idiot for not calling it in the first scene. Lazy, terrible, ineffective, clunky, downright crap twists do none of that. Lazy, terrible, ineffective, clunky, downright crap twists like that in Now You See Me just whack in a reveal at the end with none of the ground work to make it effective. I can think of two other characters who have just as much right to the “twist” and the movie still would have made just as much sense. If, when the big reveal drops, you can think of several other characters who have just as much right to that reveal, that does not a good twist make.
Wanna see a movie with a cool twist? Watch Fight Club, The Sixth Sense or a million other better movies. Wanna see Eisenberg and Harrelson passively, aggressively bounce off each other? Watch Zombieland. Wanna see Michael Cain in a decent movie about magicians? Watch The Prestige. Wanna see Isla Fisher look hot? Google it. Wanna see Dave Franco do something? Nah, probably not.
(Review originally posted Aug 8, 2013)