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Now You See Me - Movie Review

2 stars

Abracadabra it isn’t.

French director Louis Leterrier (The Transporter, The Incredible Hulk) goes “mental” this month with the release of his tricky Now You See Me.  Audiences are asked – at the beginning of the barely-registering film – to pay close attention to what happens and encouraged by its star, Jesse Eisenberg, to believe in magic with the hope that the film’s over-the-top third act antics will be forgiven while in your trance-like daze.  It’s largely; however de ja vu all over again.

Misdirection and sleight of hand tomfoolery only gets you so far in today’s CGI-driven entertainment blitz.  Now You See Me is simply Ocean’s Eleven with magicians on the prowl for the biggest illusion ever performed on an unsuspecting audience.  With a competent chemistry (the film’s only real source of joy) that doesn’t quite get the mileage it needs from this cast, the weak-in-the-knees plot falls clumsily to the wayside and its illusions become big, big farces.

Now You See Me deals with illusion, misdirection, and hypnosis as a roster of sleight of hand geniuses – Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, and Eisenberg dubbed “the Four Horseman” – take their magic act on the road and rob a bank in Paris while on stage in Vegas.  Mark Ruffalo is the FBI agent sent to track them down.  Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman also co-star in this cocky caper.

Magic – especially the CGI kind – is a very hard subject for Hollywood to effectively pull off.  And the illusions here – raining stolen money down upon a crowd for starters – is neither mysterious nor – because we know it’s fake - effective.  We know the gimmick involved; it’s cash, computers, and editing.  And only Hollywood could dare to dazzle us with CGI illusions so bold inside a script that explains more than it ought to.

Eisenberg hasn’t been this confident on the screen since The Social Network and he certainly “works” the role without taxing his skills with vocabulary.  Fisher, as his “once upon a time ago” partner, fits the slinkiness required for her escape artist role and shows a side of her that audiences haven’t yet seen before.  Harrelson hypnotizes as a mentalist yet even his role probably looked better on the page than it does here.  But it is Ruffalo – still riding high on all that good will from The Avengers – who steals the picture as a hyperventilating federal agent who catches more laughs than he does criminals.

Leterrier, who really needs a hit here, repositions the “sleight” in his own illusion with a flashy but anti-climactic movie about magicians robbing banks that is just too slight for its own audience to appreciate.  Now You See Me?  Don't.  Or at least wait to see it ... at home.[/tab]

[tab title="Film Details"]

Now You See Me - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for language, some action and sexual content.
116 mins
: Louis Leterrier
Writer: Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg; Mark Ruffalo; Woody Harrelson; Isla Fisher; Morgan Freeman
: Crime | Thriller
Tagline: Come in close, because the more you think you see, the easier it'll be to fool you
Memorable Movie Quote: "First rule of magic: always be the smartest person in the room."
Summit Entertainment
Official Site:
Release Date: May 31, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available

Synopsis: An elite FBI squad is pitted in a game of cat and mouse against "The Four Horsemen," a super-team of the world's greatest illusionists. "The Four Horsemen" pull off a series of daring heists against corrupt business leaders during their performances, showering the stolen profits on their audiences while staying one step ahead of the law.[/tab]

[tab title="Blu-ray Review"]

No details available.[/tab]

[tab title="Trailer"]