Thomas is 25, jobless, living with his parents - trying to be a magician. He's smitten by Monika, a new neighbor who's a doctor at the hospital where they take his mom when one of his tricks goes awry. She seems out of his league, but she invites him to perform at a child's party. He begs his skeptical father to let him perform at dad's 60th birthday. Monika is in the audience. Breaking a promise to his father, Thomas attempts the trick that nearly killed his mother: swords through a box inside of which is a volunteer. With family, friends, and Monika watching, will it go well, will he make a good impression, or is too much beyond his control?
A man who still lives with his parents tries to realize his dream of becoming a magician.
"Instead of Abracadabra" is a very funny short film about a lovable loser who lives with his parents but fancies himself a great magician of "gothic mystery and mayhem" and has developed a catch phrase of "Chimay!" as an alternative to abracadabra. His parents want him to get a real job but he wants to impress the single mom next door by performing first at her child's birthday party, and then at his father's 60th birthday get-together. The first trick we see him do goes horribly awry and much of the film is spent grimacing in anticipation of similarly catastrophic outcomes from his dangerous and elaborate magic tricks. This film has some Napoleon Dynamite-type elements of humor, some big laughs, and a couple good twists toward the end.
I am going to say something rather radical. Over the last several years, I've gone to the showings of both the animated and live-action short films that were Oscar nominated. For the first time ever, I went to a showing and didn't particularly like any of the films--as was the case with the live-action ones for 2010. I didn't think any of them were bad but i also didn't think any were Oscar-worthy--and most of them were amazingly unpleasant--like the Academy deliberately tried to pick the most unpleasant films they could this year. Perhaps 2008-9 was a poor year for live-action films or perhaps this just shows a bias of the people picking them. However, I can't see the public in general enjoying most of the films or wanting to see them.
The film is a comedy about a loser who insists on becoming a professional magician when he grows up. However, he is 25 and he never gets paid and doesn't seem particularly competent. To make things worse, he insists on doing very dangerous tricks--and they often seem to backfire.
"Instead of Abracadabra" is an odd choice for an Oscar nomination. It isn't a bad film at all, but it also seems very slight. Enjoyable but not especially memorable. I also didn't particularly think seeing such a creepy looking guy lying in be masturbating was pleasant or even necessary. It's like puking or peeing--things normal folks won't want to see in films, I can assure you! Overall, funny and clever but not especially deep or memorable. a5c7b9f00b
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