Good news, guys! The magician movie Now You See Me comes out today, and the only thing bad about it is the entire plot! What a relief! No but seriously guys, if you only take one piece of advice from me in your entire lives, let it be this one: don’t spend money to see Now You See Me.
The movie opens with four different magicians, each with different acts specifically designed to con people out of money. (Which I guess is what all magic acts are, now that I think of it, but these four happen to be particularly dedicated to the cause.) We have Jesse Eisenberg as the typical ‘thinks he’s charming but is actually kind of a smarmy awkward guy with icky facial hair’ (so whoops, I guess this post was wrong), Woody Harrelson as the mentalist who uses your facial tics to predict YOUR FULL NAME, Dave Franco as the rapscallion-y pickpocket inexplicably trained in unarmed combat, and Isla Fisher as the escape artist who never gets her character fully-developed but does get to wear low-cut tops. Are we clear on the present celebrities so far? Good, because there are TEN THOUSAND MORE. Everyone who said more than ten lines in this movie was a celebrity, which is fun for about ten minutes, at which point you realize that they paid their salaries with money they should have used to like…buy a movie plot or something.
Those four magicians are all anonymously given a weird tarot card thing by a mysterious be-hoodied stranger, summoning them to an apartment in New York City. Once there, they trip a series of pointless traps (like putting a white rose into a vase, which only a lady magician would do, so thanks for your help, Isla!) triggering a reaction that fills a shape on the floor with water and makes blueprints appear hovering in the air above them. Then we skip ONE YEAR INTO THE FUTURE WHEN THESE FOUR ALL HAVE A FANCY VEGAS SHOW TOGETHER. Yes that’s right, we gloss over that pesky part where we have to explain how the hell they got there and got so famous, and we’re skipping straight to the part where they already have a plan and they’re about to execute it. This plan involves robbing the bank of one of the audience members in their show, which they apparently do successfully, at which point the bumbling FBI has to get involved, headed by Mark Ruffalo who’s always one step behind the magicians, the old rascal! He’s assisted by the devastatingly beautiful Melanie Laurent as the French Interpol agent that NOBODY ELECTED TO VET, and the two of them begin a chaste, glance-based love affair with a lot of smizing and a dry kiss. Color me swooning.
I won’t reveal the rest of the plot, in case you feel like rolling your eyes and scoffing through this movie on your own dime, but about halfway through they completely give up and just start trolling the audience, I’m convinced. They couldn’t decide whether they wanted this to be a movie about magic or about bank-robbery, so they just invited over all their celebrity friends and were like, “Eff it let’s get drunk and throw in some tropes. Do we have anyone fighting with playing cards as their weapon yet? Yeah cool, throw that in. A shitty mustache disguise? What are you, drunk? Get it in there! Wise old Morgan Freeman? Greedy creepy Michael Caine? Common as a random FBI agent?? THROW THEM IN THERE.” I think halfway through the producers were honestly like, “Okay but what if magic is just real? That would make this movie easier to resolve. Let’s do that but never admit to it in the film.”
The whole thing was a big orgy of poor choices, even worse explanations for those choices, and enough celebrities in the cast to hopefully distract from all of the above. FIVE STARS.