Monday, June 17, 2013

Identity Thief Review

Identity Thief Review

Jason Bateman plays Sandy Patterson, a man who has just had a fresh start at a new company. The position will offer him more money and a stabler future for his family. The only problem is that Diana (Melissa McCarthy) is stealing his identity and spending it on needless junk. Her law problems become his law problems, and he goes from Colorado to Florida to find her, bring her Colorado, prove she exists to clear his name, and continue with his new found success.

Should be easy right? Of course its not. And before long Sandy and Diana are going cross-country to make a week deadline for Sandy to prove his innocence. With Bateman and McCarthy accompanied by actors like Jon Faveau, Amanda Peet, John Cho, Morris Chestnut and Robert Patrick, one would think this would be a perfect comedy gem, well its not...not quite.

Bateman and McCarthy do their best with the script that they are given. Sadly, the screenwriter Craig Mazin planned to make "Identity Thief" so painfully predictable that I wondered why Seth Gordon and all this talent decided to make this movie in the first place. Yes, I will admit that there are plenty of spots where both leads are very charming and quite funny. But those moments are far and in-between. Surprisingly, I was so flabbergasted by how little I laughed during this movie. To me, it looks like McCarthy is beginning to become a female Zach Galifianakis. It is clear that's who she was channeling in "Bridesmaids," that's clearly why she was the love interest for Alan in the third "Hangover" film, take a look at this movie then go rent 2011's "Due Date," starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. "Identity Thief" is essentially a remake of "Due Date" with a slightly different plot. Hollywood seems to find weird and offbeat very humorous and I'm not saying I disagree. I just feel there's a lot more to Melissa McCarthy than playing up the weird, and I wonder which filmmaker will find it.

All the actors do what they can, but its not the actors that fail, its the sloppy script. It makes me feel bad that so much wonderful talent is being wasted on an undercooked script. There are some funny moments, and there are moments that you think will be really funny. But those wishfully funny scenes never really pan out and that's a huge disappointment. Despite the script problems, "Identity Thief" manages to be entertaining most of the way through. The performances really carry the movie, you can tell the actors want this one to count. But its predictability is horrendous, even in an realm where predictable is normal.

What's also annoying is that the film absolutely has our current country situation on its mind. How people are struggling from the economic crisis and how certain people are prevailing is particularly relevant to the story. What's sad is that the crew never really wanted to explore this idea, they just let it sit on the back burner. I think a comedy about our current financial situation would be successful, but you got to take the idea all the way or not at all. "Identity Thief" seems scared of its own ambition.

There are a few scenes and great performances to take note of. But taken as a whole, "Identity Thief" is typical light entertainment. I am glad I checked it out, but its a movie I never plan to watch again. It's certainly not a movie I ever plan on buying. It had real potential to be completely out-of-the-box, but decided not to go there. That is just too bad.

FINAL GRADE: C-

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