Following on from The Prestige and The Illusionist, here's another film which focuses on the world of magic. This one stars Peep Show twosome David Mitchell and Robert Webb as magical double act Kane and Allen, whose professional and personal relationship is brought to an abrupt end by a tragic onstage accident involving adultery and a guillotine. Years later, the pair are reunited - and find themselves as rivals, as they attempt to save their now flagging careers by entering a prestigious magic tournament.
There's a lot to like about Magicians, especially if you're a fan of Mitchell and Webb. The pair are just as much at ease on the big screen as they are on the small, although Mitchell's awkward, nerdy Harry is ultimately the one you end up rooting for most. There are plenty of laughs to be had at the expense of their fellow magicians and their increasingly ridiculous tricks, as well as so-called "professional" psychics, courtesy of Webb's Karl trying to reinvent himself as a Derren Brown-style mind-reader, with limited success.
"SOMEWHAT UNEVEN TONE"
And yet as enjoyable as all this is, Magicians ultimately feels as though it's lacking something. The jokes have a tendency either to go too far or not far enough, giving the film a somewhat uneven tone. At times you're not sure whether it's trying to be an all-out outrageous comedy or something much gentler. It's a perfectly agreeable way to while away an hour and a half - but don't expect to remember much about it in the morning.
Magicians is released in UK cinemas on Friday 18th May 2007.