This month, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone will appear in UK cinemas to amaze and astound you.
The all-star comedy sees Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) struggle to update their languishing cheesy magic act in order to compete with guerilla street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), whose extreme stunts have made him a cult hit on the Vegas strip.
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Boasting their own standout, individual comedic styles, Carell and Buscemi may not be the most obvious pairing. But, it’s oddball duos that often produce those instantly cult, quotable moments. Coupled with Jim Carrey’s signature brand of zany humour, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is set to be one of the funniest films you’ll see this year. To celebrate the release of the film on 15th March, we take a look at the greatest double acts in comedy.
Jack Lemmon & Walter Matthau (The Odd Couple – 1968)
In the definitive representation of how far friendships can be pushed when actually forced to spend a significant amount of time together, The Odd Couple charts the fallout when pals Felix (Jack Lemmon), a highly-strung neat freak, and Oscar (Walter Matthau), a charming slob, move in together. The pair had such great chemistry that they starred in ten films together throughout their careers, including ‘The Front Page’ (1974), JFK (1991) and Grumpy Old Men (1993).
Laugh out loud moment: After moaning about Felix’s nagging notes, Oscar finds a message reading “We’re all out of cornflakes. F.U.” and gets offended – only to realise later that “F.U.” are Felix’s initials.
Richard E. Grant & Paul McGann (Withnail & I – 1987)
One of the UK’s best-loved cult comedies, Withnail & I follows two young, out-of-work actors who decide to escape from their squalid Camden flat and travel to the countryside. Staying in the privileged Withnail’s (Richard E. Grant) Uncles cottage, the pair’s relationship is tested as they realise they are out of their depth in the rural conditions. In a memorable scene where Withnail downs a bottle of lighter fluid, director Bruce Robinson actually filled the canister with vinegar – though told Grant it was water in order to get a better facial reaction in the take.
Laugh out loud moment: Almost too numerous to decide – but for pure hilarity the scene where the pair face an angry bull is tough to beat. Withnail immediately abandons his friend, but nonchalantly offers advice, as the petrified city boy shouts: “A coward you are Withnail, an expert on bulls you are not!”
Ben Stiller & Owen Wilson (Zoolander – 2001)
Widely considered the first successful ‘Frat Pack’ comedy, Ben Stiller plays Derek Zoolander – a dimwitted male model who, after being replaced by Hansel McDonald (Owen Wilson) as the new it-guy on the catwalk scene, is brainwashed into attempting to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Featuring brilliantly quotable putdowns and an unsurpassable walk-off, Stiller and Wilson took comic rivalry to a new height. Since Zoolander, the pair have appeared as enemies in the Meet The Parents series and Night At The Museum (2006).
Laugh out loud moment: Pre-walk off the two simpletons try to have a war of words, culminating in Zoolander’s failed put down: “You think you’re too cool for school, but I’ve got a news flash for you Walter Cronkite…you aren’t”
Simon Pegg & Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz – 2007)
British favourites Simon Pegg and Nick Frost star in Hot Fuzz, in which a dedicated London police officer (Pegg) is relocated to sleepy Sanford and partnered with a slow, but well-meaning, small-town cop (Frost), only to find his suspicions aroused by a series of gruesome deaths in the village. Pegg and director Edgar Wright wrote the comedy as a humourous homage to crime dramas after watching over a hundred action films as inspiration.
Laugh out loud moment: After Nick (Pegg) puts a dangerous villager in the freezer, Danny (Frost) asks whether he said “cool off” as he did it. The two cops then discuss awesome lines they have said after taking criminals down.
Steve Carell & Jim Carrey (The Incredible Burt Wonderstone – 2013)
In The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, comedy legends Steve Carell and Jim Carrey prove once again to be a dynamic duo, trading comedic insults and retorts as masters of their field. Playing warring magicians, Burt Wonderstone’s (Carell) old school tricks are ousted by Steve Gray’s (Carrey) thrilling street stunts, so Burt must rediscover his love for illusions to remind the public about what magic really is. Legendary magician David Copperfield served as a technical advisor on set as director Don Scardino had insisted that illusions should be credible feats, and therefore shouldn’t be dependent on camera tricks.
Laugh out loud moment: Burt performs at a child’s birthday party in a bid to win back his show on the Vegas strip. But refusing to even give him even that much of a chance, Steve outdoes each trick with progressively bigger but more inappropriate stunts.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is in cinemas on 15th March