In one of those movies where the funniest moments are in the trailers, "Identity Thief" is director Seth Gordon's hit and miss follow up to the hilarious "Horrible Bosses", and is also nothing more than a less consistently funny version of "Due Date".
The Plot: This movie lays out the improbable (even for a comedy) set-up of a man in Colorado named Sandy Patterson (funny name to give a man, huh? Well, I guess it's funny the first few times this joke is told) played by the very much underrated Jason Bateman, who gets his identity stolen by a woman in Florida, played by Melissa McCarthy. After the police outright refuse to help him, Sandy sets out on a quest of sorts to Florida in order to bring McCarthy's character back to Colorado himself (basically doing the police's job for them) so that she may stand trial for her crimes. Hilarious!
Now, when Bateman and McCarthy find themselves in a road trip situation (about 30 minutes in) it is only then that Gordon seems to let these two very funny comedic actors run wild and "Identity Thief" begins to see comedic moments that actually work. In saying that, as I stated before, aside from all of the funny scenes that the trailers had to offer, and one laugh out loud sex scene (that of which occurs in the unevenly entertaining middle portion of this film) "Identity Thief" is bookended and sporadically injected with more unfunny and contrived moments, which consistently work to drag this movie back down into the still waters of mediocrity time and time again. Furthermore, while the beginning is slow and shockingly sigh inducing, the ending's ineffectiveness clearly notifies audiences about how flawed Gordon's visual storytelling abilities are in this instance. OK, so to avoid ruining this very predictable ending, I'll simply put it like this: There was not one moment throughout this film where I did NOT want to see McCarthy's character end up in prison. Call me heartless if you must.
The Acting: OK, while Gordon does attempt to mask how weak this plot is by allowing Bateman to make some funny faces and come through with some snide monotone zingers, as well as allow McCarthy to pursue an Olympic trial's worth of physical comedy, in all actuality the rest of this supporting cast is absolutely worthless. In fact, let's (for a second) run down the list of notable actors who are wasted in this movie: Jon Favreau is only in one scene; wasted, Robert Patrick plays a forgettable bounty hunter; wasted, John Cho is given half of a funny line to say in a 90 minute movie; wasted, T.I. gives one of the more worthless cameos in recent years; wasted, Amanda Peet is such a non-character here that I almost forgot that she was in this movie; hence, she's wasted, Genesis Rodriquez has nice eyebrows, but all in all she's wasted, and Eric Stonestreet...well, he's actually pretty funny in his one scene with McCarthy.
Final Thought: While "Identity Thief" does contain pockets of funny, not even Bateman or McCarthy flailing about can help this film fully recover from its own flimsy premise, implausible actions and a failed ploy by the director to display any sort of sympathy for Melissa McCarthy's character. So, at the end of the day, it is not the two leads that let this movie down, it is the material itself, which unfortunately causes "Identity Thief" to be a rental recommendation at best. That said, "Identity Thief" is still funnier than "Bridesmaids".
Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
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