23rd Mar2013

‘Identity Thief’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Genesis Rodriguez, Morris Chestnut, John Cho, Robert Patrick, Eric Stonestreet | Written by Craig Mazin | Directed by Seth Gordon

ID-Thief

Jason Bateman re-teams with his Horrible Bosses director Seth Gordon and Bridesmaids star Melissa McCarthy for a comedy in which a regular guy is forced to extreme measures to clear his name.

Unlimited funds have allowed Diana (McCarthy) to live it up on the outskirts of Miami, where the queen of retail buys whatever strikes her fancy. There’s only one glitch: the ID she’s using to finance these sprees reads “Sandy Bigelow Patterson” and it belongs to an accounts rep (Bateman) who lives halfway across the US. With only one week to hunt down the con artist before he loses his new high-powered job and his world implodes, the real Sandy Bigelow Patterson heads south to confront the woman in an attempt to bribe, coax and wrangle her the 2,000 miles back to Denver.

The ridiculous premise, that a finance manager for a huge accountants firm would get scammed by a phone call asking his for all his personal details, kicks off what is a ridiculous so-called “comedy” that tries its damnedest to capture the spirit of 80s movies such as Something Wild, Planes Trains And Automobiles and Midnight Run which saw polar opposites thrown together on the road, finally overcoming their differences come the denouement. Only Identity Thief fails on all counts.

First off the characters in the film are all morons. From Bateman’s accountant who falls for the phone scam, to Maurice Chestnut‘s cop who stupidly agrees with Bateman that he should turn vigilante to catch McCarthy’s fraudster, who herself is an abhorrent, utterly despicable character. The fact that Identity Thief asks us to eventually sympathise with her is just as ridiculous as the premise! And it’s not just the characters that are at fault, the story, which spends two-thirds of its time trying to be a vulgar gross-out comedy and then a third of the time trying to be a sentimental drama, is easily the films biggest weakness…

A nasty mean-spirited comedy that pokes fun at anyone not of the stereotypical “norm” and has none of the laugh-out-loud comedy of Gordon’s previous effort, Identity Thief is in UK cinemas now.

** 2/5

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