In an early scene in the magic-heist movie Now You See Me
, Jesse Eisenberg’s character gives an audience a piece of advice. “The more you think you see,” he says, “the easier it will be to fool you.” That’s apparently a tip director Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk
, Clash of the Titans
) tried to follow, pulling from his bag of tricks plenty of glitz, a throbbing techno soundtrack and a camera that swirls as if on a merry-go-round and makes viewers just as dizzy. Unfortunately, being fooled by this flashy flick is no fun. An opening montage introduces us, Ocean’s Eleven
-style, to our four magicians: the smartass cardsharp (Eisenberg), the charming but slightly shady mentalist (Woody Harrelson), the sexy escape artist (Isla Fisher, here to look good in miniskirts and do little else), and the streetwise pickpocket (Dave Franco, here to do even less than Fisher). Summoned by an unknown mastermind and christening themselves the Four Horsemen, they launch a series of heists. Why? Who knows! Not even, apparently, the Horsemen themselves. At their first show in Las Vegas, a “randomly chosen” audience member teleports to Paris to help the Horsemen rob a French bank, which causes 3.2 million Euros to rain down on the giddy spectators. This raises eyebrows at the FBI and Interpol, who begin trailing the wily illusionists. For a moment it seems the Horsemen might be Occupy types, modern-day Robin Hoods who seek to return money to those who’ve been screwed over by banks and insurance companies. Yet they’re neither developed into well-drawn characters nor made into symbols of economic justice. Throughout, characters explain how magic is all about misdirection, about getting the audience to look away from where the real trick is happening. Too bad, then, that with all his interest in distracting the audience, Leterrier has left us nothing else to see.