I’m a big fan of UK comedians Robert Webb and David Mitchell who are responsible for the hilarious TV series PEEP SHOW and THAT MITCHELL & WEBB LOOK. They are also known as “Mac” & “PC” in the UK versions of the famous ads.
I was excited to discover that they had made a movie called MAGICIANS that not only starred them as a pair of feuding prestidigitators but also starred Peter Capaldi (The new DOCTOR WHO) in a supporting role.
Unfortunately MAGICIANS left much to be desired. Listless and only mildly funny it’s a one-joke movie stretch for a laborious 90 minutes.
Mitchell and Webb play a famous Magical duo that have been delighting audiences for years, but as their back stage friendship begins to erode a horrible accident occurs onstage (Mitchell’s wife is decapitated in a botched guillotine illusion) their pairing comes to an abrupt end.
Years later, they are both in a rut and decide to come out of retirement to take part in a famous Magic competition. Any hope of them actually working together are quickly dashed and they decide to compete against one another instead.
It’s a fun premise, but one that’s never truly realized. A big problem is the limp script and equally limp direction. Mitchell & Webb are known for their outrageous concepts especially on their sketch show but none of that is on display here, so the movie lacks any true edge.
The film has its moments but they are few and far between, so ultimately MAGICIANS is all smoke and mirrors and lacks any real magic.