Friday, April 5, 2013

Identity Thief

Directed by Seth Gordon.
2013. Rated R, 111 minutes.
John Cho
Génesis Rodríguez
Eric Stonestreet

Things are looking up for Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Bateman). He lives in Denver with his lovely wife Trish (Peet) and their two lovely kids and is about to start a new job paying him two hundred fifty thousand dollars per year. In the midst of all this joy, his credit cards start getting declined and he’s arrested for skipping a court date in Florida. Thing is, he’s never even been to Florida. He finds out what we already know: a woman who lives there has stolen his identity. Faced with not only the trhreat of going to jail, but losing his new job even if he doesn’t, Sandy heads to The Sunshine State to clear his feminine, ahem, unisex name. His plan is to bring the perp back to Denver and get her to confess. In case you were somehow wondering, that woman is Diana, played by Melissa McCarthy.

Thus far in her acting career, McCarthy has proven to be a force of nature. As the identity thief, she is again a ball of boundless comic energy. Bateman is a wonderful straight-man, seemingly a perfect foil for McCarthy’s off the wall antics. On paper, it’s a match made in heaven. On screen, things even start off well. The first half hour or so is entertaining despite being a violent, mean-spirited brand of humor. Bateman chases her down, she chops him in the throat, or does some other heinous thing to him, and scampers off. He chases her down again and the cycle continues. This is precisely the problem. After a funny sex scene, and the inclusion of some gangsters that never fully makes sense, we arrive at the point where we've heard all the jokes and seen all the gags this movie has to offer. That joke I cracked about Sandy’s name being feminine? We only hear it about half a million times during the movie. Identity Thief just keeps repeating itself until it mercifully decides to end.

To their credit, McCarthy and Bateman give it their all. There is a very nice ebb and flow to their scenes together which comprise most of the film. Unfortunately, even the best comedy routines lose their luster after we've seen them umpteen times. However, we can sense the spark they have. I think they could make a thoroughly hilarious movie if given better material. What they’re working with here is lazy writing content to let our stars do all the work on their own.

MY SCORE: 4/10


  1. It just ends up being another cheap knockoff of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and a bad one at that. Good review Wendell.

  2. So true. I hadn't thought of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" (been a long time since I've seen it). Excellent point. Thanks for sharing.