In case The Incredible Burt Wonderstone didn't convince you earlier this year that magicians can be dickheads, presto! Here's Now You See Me, yet another stupendously silly film featuring prima-donna illusionists you'll want to slap the shit out of.
The smack-worthy ones in question are the cocky street conjurers played by Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco. They get summoned by some mysterious hoodied person they never see or meet, who somehow gets them to assemble an epic-scale, arena-filling magic show that has them robbing banks and wealthy men (Michael Caine plays one particularly peeved millionaire) and redistributing the wealth to the people.
Special agents Mark Ruffalo (looking haggard) and Melanie Laurent (looking French) join forces to thwart these tricky Robin Hoods, often failing miserably, while Morgan Freeman somehow stays awake and smirks like crazy as a magic debunker who's even more arrogant and condescending than the magicians he debunks.
Basically Ocean's Eleven for magic nerds, Now You See Me tries to mystify you with its cinematic chicanery while constantly reminding you that you're not paying attention to what's truly going down. Directed by action-loving auteur Louis Letterier (Clash of the Titans) and written by several screenwriters who must think we're all idiots, the movie takes such relentless, maddening leaps in logic and plausibility — this foursome executes a meticulously planned, multi-layered caper, with hardly any money or manpower and zero chance of casualties, FOR SOMEONE THEY'VE NEVER MET?! — that it ends up ludicrously far-fetched even by summer-movie standards. When Mystery Hoodie finally comes out of hiding in plain sight, in the get-the-fuck-outta-here climax, it actually makes the character look more like a raving sociopath than a master magician who fooled everybody.
I'm shocked more folks in the magic arts don't get enraged when movies like this come along. At least Christopher Nolan's The Prestige (another asshole-magician movie starring Michael Caine) showed how magicians who vainly obsess over pulling the wool over people's eyes can ultimately destroy themselves. Now You See Me revels in characterizing magicians as obnoxious, untouchable, sleight-of-hand-serving douchenozzles who make David Blaine look like your uncle when he pretended to get your nose when you were a kid.