Now You See Me

Rating: You will have to decide if Now You See Me should have been titled Now You Don’t.

Now You See MeIn wrestling over this review, the simple truth is Now You See Me is a guilty pleasure. I know that the plot had to be intriguing, yet while it is a movie whose form outruns its substance, it is a pretty form.

In summary, a group of illusionists perform in magnificent venues from Las Vegas to New Orleans to New York as they connive to rob banks. Behind their public performance is a gift for bank heists, only to have the money released to the joy of their enthusiastic audience. The FBI and Interpol are on their trail, but our group of magicians seem far more intelligent.

As you join the FBI in their attempt to discover what in the hell is going on, every single actor has qualities that distract attention away from the meandering journey of the film itself. Our illusionists are led by Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Isla Fisher. Mr. Harrelson plays Merritt McKinney, a man with a dangerous ability to induce anyone into a trance. He again continues to be an engaging character as recently seen in such brilliant performances as in last year’s The Hunger Games and 7 Psychopaths.

Mr. Eisenberg plays a hard-charging mystery man who you continually like despite the fact that he is little more than a first-class prick. It is almost as if his Mark Zuckerberg character from The Social Network (2010) got bored and sought a way to dupe the American government.

And then there is Isla Fisher, an interesting actress who is dressed as if she just left the cover of “Cosmopolitan”. She is a beautiful contortionist, and she mesmerizes the audience as she tries to escape from being chained under water in a large tank while piranha are about to be released to her demise. This is a talented actress, as she has previously demonstrated in the underrated Definitely, Maybe (2008); the wonderful voice of the cute opossum called Beans in the Oscar-winning animated film Rango (2011) and the woeful housewife attracted to Tom Buchanan in this year’s The Great Gatsby.

Also thrown into the mix are Mark Ruffalo as an FBI Agent whose appearance as an incredibly perplexed FBI Agent masks a hidden secret. And then the film has time to involve the great Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman in the perplexing plot. While both play small roles, the fact is that they would be entertaining to watch if they appeared at your home some weekend to mow your grass.

As noted, I ended up liking Now You See Me, although it must now seem quite obvious that I can’t say why. In some ways it reminded me of my unfortunate marriage in 1968 when I was a Junior at college. It seemed like the thing to do at the time, but it would have helped if we had known each other a bit better.

What in God’s name was I thinking? On the other hand, I did learn something terribly important. Never have sex in the back seat of a ‘53 Chevy!

Don’t watch this film back there either.