After last year’s back-to-back magical romps and the continuing slew of biopics, it must have been inevitable that someone greenlit a picture about Harry Houdini. While Gillian Armstrong wouldn’t necessarily be the director that you first thought of to do such an endeavor, it’s less surprising when the story proves to be one of complicated romance.

Guy Pearce plays Houdini, the illusionist who spent much of his time debunking so-called psychics that preyed upon the fears and regrets of their audience all under the guise of mysticism. Catherine Zeta-Jones is in a mother-daughter psychic vaudeville act, and gets caught up in a competition to see who can provide the dying words of Houdini’s mother.

The mood is well set, and the performances fine, but in the end this proves to be an unexceptional film. There’s a lack of magic in the tale, a sense of doom and gloom that mars even the most passionate moments, yet a fairly pedestrian structure that hardly surprises the audience. In the end it’s an average, forgettable film, a poor comparison to last year’s films about magicians. Unlike the legend that was Houdini, this film is unfortunately fated to be forgotten about.