Carell and Steve Buscemi play childhood friends who become flamboyant, Siegfried & Roy-type showmen-magicians Burt and Anton in Vegas but end their partnership after an epic falling-out.
When an edgy new street illusionist, played by Jim Carrey, appears on the scene and wows the crowds, Burt tries to convince Anton to start up the act again and win back their fans.
"It was very informational to be shooting here," Carell told reporters at a recent Sin City press conference.
"It does inform the characters a lot because there is obviously a different vibe in Las Vegas," he said.
"Several times during the weeks we were here, I walked around in full hair and makeup and costume through casinos and nobody batted an eye, which led us to believe we were on the right track with the character development," Carell noted. "Because on the poster [the perfectly coiffed hair, fake tan and flashy costumes] look absolutely ridiculous, but it's not that ridiculous in the context of Las Vegas and, case in point, we were suspended by a crane 60 or so feet in the air in a plexiglas box on the Las Vegas strip and we didn't even gather a crowd. We tried to gather a crowd. We didn't want to pay for all the extras. We figured well people will just gather and we'll shoot that as the crowd. Nobody cared. They were on their way to the big shows and: 'Oh, two guys in costume up in a box. Anyway.' Which actually told us a lot about our environment."
Asked about how well he moves between character parts and leading-man roles depending on the projects, the former star of TV's "The Office" replied, "I don't approach anything differently.
"I just approach it as a character. I'm always astounded at the fact that I've ever played a leading character in anything," Carell laughed. "And my wife concurs with that, frankly. I always thought I would be -- at best -- the wacky neighbor on a sitcom. So, this is all just a surprise and a joy. I approach it the same way. It's a character and you commit to that and let it tell the story."