User ReviewsReview this title
Being a magician myself, I got a kick out of the film and what these people go through.
The biggest gripe I have with the story is this -- Hugo is a masterful thief, and that's how the movie starts. Then he steals a van for 4 of them to go from NYC to Vegas. The movie ends up with all of them apparently happy, smiling, with no restitution for the crimes. A clear message that it is OK to be a thief, as long as you are charming. To me this is a serious flaw, and part of the reason I can rate it no higher than "5".
The bulk of the movie is about these 4 flawed people getting together to make an act and make it big in LasVegas. Max (Til Schweizer) is flamboyant but without much talent. Hugo (Fabrizio Bentiviglio) is a "loner" who hustles a living as a pickpocket and grifter, has amazing talents but just wants to be left alone. Lydia (Claire Forlani) is the cute, blonde waitress who has "nothing to lose" by quitting her job and becoming a magician's assistance. Milo (Alan Alda) manages magic acts and sees potential, especially in Hugo.
They head out west, and develop their magic act "on the road", usually in the evening at the motel stops. The film is a comedy. The magic act is not very good. The combination of characters is like mixing oil and water. There is a humorous encounter with a cop looking for the stolen van. The actors did as good as they could with the script, but this writer/director is just not up to the standards being set by the better ones. Although this film can be enjoyed by certain people, I believe it has very limited appeal and could not in clear conscience recommend it to anyone.
I tend to judge movies on a case by case basis, depending on, among other things, if it is a big studio production or a smaller film. This is a smaller film and I am willing to forgive minor things. That said, I believe it has one of the most imaginative and original title sequences that I have seen.
I enjoyed the acting of all of the major players. I especially enjoyed Til Schweiger and Alan Arkin. Alan Arkin has most of the funniest lines. The character portrayed by Claire Forlani might come across as unrealistic to some people, but I have personally known real people with emotional problems that very readily look at life's decisions as her character does. That helped me pick up the nuances where her hurts could come out through the veneer of her humor.
This is not a movie for children, obviously, but it does NOT engage in gratuitous sex and nudity. There is quite a bit of adult language, though, but it can sometimes be very funny. (In particular, Alan Arkin's character, who can't even swear correctly.)
Also watch for the cameos from known character actors.
The rest is ordinary or less, but I like films where the actors act about acting.
It follows the adventures of a young man who decides that he wants to become a famous Las Vegas illusionist, and is partly about following his dream, partly about the dreams of others, and all about the travails of showbiz. I thought the movie was charming, and it has a moment or two of real magic that make the whole thing worthwhile.
Alan Arkin is terrific as the magician who never was, and his mentoring of Max makes for a funny and touching relationship.
Not for everyone, probably, but if you like movies about the journey, then I think you'll like this one.
P.S. Look for great cameos by Chi McBride, and Chris McDonald.