What’s the point of a movie about magic? We know it’s all done with CGI, so why even bother trying to fool us? This flouncy exercise in would-be story chicanery never surmounts its own innate sense of pointlessness, but a hard-working, likeable cast make it bearable. Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, playing mateyness and nerdy narcissism, are among a bunch of tricksters persuaded to put together a stage spectacular during which they appear to commit bank robberies and share the spoils with a gobsmacked audience. Michael Caine hovers purposefully as their wealthy benefactor, while smoothly conceited TV pundit Morgan Freeman vows to expose their methods. Meanwhile, trailing cop Mark Ruffalo exists in a permanent state of open-mouthed confusion.
There are plenty of wizard wheezes, chases and punch-ups before we learn the who, what and why of it all, by which time it’s hard to care either way since the movie never decides whether we’re rooting for the maverick illusionists or the pursuers trying to uncover their secrets. Bustling, glittery, uninvolving.