For me, the draw of this movie was Jesse Eisenberg. I’m serious. I find him to be a great actor and an attractive individual, and I assume most people only relate to one of those two things, but that’s fine. More J.Eis for me, in theory.
His character, along with the three other Horsemen of this movie, is a massive prick. They’re all professional pricks, actually, which is to say they’re magicians. Together, J. Daniel Atlas (Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco)–and holy cats, those names are Aaron Sorkin-level bad–are the Four Horsemen, recruited by a mystery source from their individual and highly successful jobs in magic to work a massive year-long global show-performance-heist thing and scam the world and… Look. I don’t know. Parts of it were really hard to follow. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman were involved, and I’d list their character names, too, but I’m too lazy to go back to the IMDb tab and, really, they were just playing themselves. They don’t act anymore. They just sign up in tandem for big action movies. It’s fine. We’ve all accepted it, haven’t we?
Much of the mind fuckery can be attributed to producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, of Lost and Fringe fame, which makes me feel a little better about feeling stupid about the plot. They really know how to mess with our logic and leave a bunch of loose ends hanging around, waiting to be tied. This movie didn’t contain as many loose ends as, say, Lost, but it certainly left me questioning my sense of logic and reason.
Then again, maybe it was supposed to. Now You See Me is a movie about magic tricks, so why shouldn’t our disbelief be suspended for awhile? For at least the two-thirds of the movie, I was pretty enraptured by all of the illusions, even though I know they could cheat and CGI everything because it isn’t live. By the end, I had sort of given up on the magic, mostly because of the love story (I’ll get to it in a second), but I did experience a bit of child-like wonder when the Four Horsemen caused Euros to rain down on everyone in their Vegas arena-y audience. Really, how’d they do that?
So, the love story. Mark Ruffalo is involved. I was pretty indifferent about him going into this movie, but I see the appeal now. He’s a believable man’s man, sensitive, all that crap. Here, he’s the main FBI guy, trying to figure out how to get all this money back to its rightful owners, trying to pin down the Four Horsemen, trying to see who’s gaming whom, trying to figure out who’s behind this whole elaborate plan. And with the help of a French agent, played by Melanie Laurent, sent over because the Euros were stolen from a Parisian bank, he figures it all out, in a manner of speaking. There’s a twist at the end that I should have picked up on, but didn’t, which means I guess I did suspend my disbelief more than I thought I’d be able to. Go figure. There’s also a bit of tension between Ruffalo and Laurent’s characters, which makes for an uninteresting, cliche love story happening while all this money is being stolen and all these youthful hooligans are doing the stealing.
Entertaining? Yes. Harrelson and Eisenberg reunited under odd, dire circumstances? Yes. Worth seeing in the theater? Probably not. Unless you’re not going to Vegas anytime soon.