Now You See Me

An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money.

Writers:  Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin & Edward Ricourt (Screenplay)
Director:  Louis Leterrier
Stars:  Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo
Run time/Rating:  115 Minutes/ PG-13
Popcorn Score:  Small Popcorn with Butter

“Now You See Me” is movie that provides much more flash than substance and extremely underutilizes a cast full of great names and a lot of talent.  I contemplate the reason for writing this review because just as quick as this movie was in and out of the theaters, it will be in and out of your local Redbox and ultimately out of your mind.

We are introduced to the 4 horsemen individually as magicians at different points in their careers.  Jesse Eisenberg, a young up and comer with a successful following and popularity. Isla Fisher as his former assistant who branched off to lead her own show. Woody Harrelson plays the washed up stage performer who has morphed his once beloved tricks into a pitiable boardwalk show, and finally Dave Franco, who is using his sleight of hand to obtain tourists wallets as he roughs it out in the streets of New York.

They are brought together by an unknown show producer who provides them with unlimited money and technology and launches a Vegas stage show unlike any other seen before.  In a screenwriting attempt to jump on the anti-corporation bandwagon of the 2010’s, the group stages a series of elaborate international heists of banks, corporations and wealthy 1%’ers. They rob these businesses and individuals and redistribute the money to the members of the audience live during the show. Sort of a 2013 magical Robin Hood type of group, I suppose.   This thrills the audiences but infuriates the FBI and INTERPOL because they are being duped by magic and we all know magic isn’t real.  The team of investigators, led by Mark Ruffalo and Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds) set out to learn the trick and catch the “crooks” but ultimately are lead into an overly elaborate magic chase scene which lasts the entire 2nd half of the unnecessarily long movie.   Additionally, there is an obligatory Hollywood romance undercurrent with each and every line spoken between Ruffalo and Laurent.   Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman also add to the impressively underutilized bill of actors as a wealthy victim of the magical group and a documentarian following the whole story for DVD sales.

The payoff of the movie is not worth the wait and is incredibly too farfetched and disingenuous to be entertaining.  Don’t be tricked by the highly touted cast, fast moving trailer and special effects, this magic trick is about as lame as pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

Small Popcorn with Butter.  

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