February 8, 2013 Identity Thief
Studio: Universal Rating: R for sexual content and language
Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Jason Bateman) has a very big problem.
His identity has been stolen and the thief is living it up and ruining his credit.
He lives in Colorado and the local authorities say they aren't going to Florida to nab the culprit.
Sandy travels east to confront the thief named Diana (Melissa McCarthy). He finds his way to her home and gives her the choice about how it's going to go down. She picks the hard way and the battle is on.
Sandy gains the upper hand and proceeds to travel back to Colorado with Diana to clear him name.
But his plan to fly is derailed when she points out they are both using the exact same identification. That means they have to drive cross country. Diana uses that to her advantage, constantly working to get away from Sandy.
"Identity Thief" has a split personality. On one hand, there are plenty of scenes featuring slapstick, physical comedy. Bateman and McCarthy are talented actors who have impeccable timing. There are more than a few laughs as Sandy and Diana spar their way across the U.S.
However, as the movie progresses an underlying serious tone begins to emerge, which doesn't jibe with the overall feel of the story.
It turns out Diana eventually experiences pangs of regret for her misdeeds. I would much rather have seen her continue enjoying her ill-gotten gains without experiencing any remorse. It doesn't ring true for her character.
Plus, the circumstances leading up to Sandy's decision to travel alone to bring Diana to justice are so ridiculous that they pull you out of the story. The filmmakers take the path of least resistance to throw these characters together for their road trip hijinks. I just didn't find it very believable. I realize you sometimes have to stretch reality, but the ineptitude of the authorities here is ridiculous.
The funny parts of the film don't make up for its contrived elements nor the clumsy way everything ties together at the end.
Bateman and McCarthy deserve better material to showcase their skills.
On my rating scale, "Identity Thief" earns a SINGLE..
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