‘Identity Thief’ Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated November 18th, 2014 at 3:42 am,

Identity Thief Review starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy Identity Thief Review

By the time we hit an overly-saccharine ending, Identity Thief will already be half out of mind, except to say, that Melissa McCarthy sure is talented.

Identity Thief brings us into the world of straight-laced Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman), a man just waiting on that next promotion at work to help secure his family’s future. When it becomes clear that the corporate world isn’t going to cut him a break, Sandy joins a small cabal of his co-workers in a bold new spinoff venture that will finally pay him his due.

However, just as things are looking up, Sandy’s world comes crashing down. Diana (Melissa McCarthy) a small-time con-artist has stolen Sandy’s identity, and her illegal antics threaten to derail his new job venture. With the law tied up in jurisdictional bureaucracy, Sandy takes it upon himself to head down to Florida and apprehend the perpetrator. Naturally, things don’t go as smoothly as planned, an epic road trip ensues, and both real and faux Sandy Patterson manage to do a little growing.

Identity Thief is directed by Seth Gordon, who is known for his brand of off-beat subject matter comedy seen in films like Four Christmases and Horrible Bosses; TV projects like Breaking In and even documentaries like Freakanomics and King of Kong. His style tends to be hit or miss amongst comedy fans, and Identity Thief continues that trend. Hovering in some odd space between the edginess of Todd Phillips’ Due Date and your average Kevin James slapstick film – with some serious drama thrown in for weird measure – the movie is a peculiar and only occasionally satisfying ride.

Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy in Identity Thief 2013 Identity Thief Review

Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy in ‘Identity Thief’

Bateman and McCarthy turn out to be a good pairing, with the former providing his usual straight man wit for McCarthy to bounce all sorts of zany verbal and physical comedy off of. Despite the thinness of the material, The Bridesmaids-breakout proves to be an (at least) earnest and committed lead performer, with a wide facet of comedic talent. No matter if she’s throwing daggers of wit, hilariously playing off her own physicality or even showing some dramatic emoting, McCarthy is definitely a scene-stealing mix of charm and just the right amount of naughty. Bateman, on the other hand, is his usual reliable self.

The problem in this film comes from the script by newcomer Jerry Eten, and Craig Mazin, whose primary contribution to the comedy genre has been conveyor belt films like Scary Movie 3 & 4, Superhero Movie and  The Hangover Part II (oh, and the upcoming Hangover 3). Tonally speaking, Identity Thief is just all over the place. From the outset, we’re asked to sympathize with the victim (Sandy) whose good life is being ruined; next second we’re shown  our antagonist (Diana) doing despicable things; but in the next second we’re handed a heavy moment meant to humanize our despicable antagonist – before she does something despicable again in the second after that. While McCarthy pulls off each moment of this act, as a viewer it’s hard to know who to care for or how much – or what outcome we should root for.

T.I. Harris and Genesis Rodriguez in Identity Thief 2013 Identity Thief Review

T.I. and Genesis Rodriguez in ‘Identity Thief’

Add in odd tableau of supporting characters  played by a strange array of actors, and the picture gets even more off-beat and awkward. Rapper/actor T.I. (Takers, ATL)  and breakout bombshell Genesis Rodriguez (The Last SandCasa de Mi Padre) play two gangsters on Diana’s tail with such hard menace, it’s like somebody forcibly wedged a slice of urban crime drama into a white bread comedy. That entire subplot is definitely something the movie could do without, as it offers nothing but the occasional motivation for our protagonists to make another slapstick-style escape.

Actors like Jon Favreau (Swingers), Robert Patrick (Gangster Squad) and Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) seem a little more in on the joke with their respective cameo roles; but other supporting actors like Amanda Peet (Whole Nine Yards), Morris Chestnut (Think Like a Man) and Jon Cho (Harold & Kumar) are pretty much just wasted playing straightforward generic character archetypes  (the wife, the cop, the boss, etc…).

Eric Stonestreet and Melissa McCarthy in Identity Thief Identity Thief Review

Eric Stonestreet and Melissa McCarthy in ‘Identity Thief’

Some of the scenes and sequences Gordon stages pay comedic dividends (see: the motel scene); but just as many of them pass by with nothing more than a few bland chuckles to show for the effort. This is a road trip movie in which you can easily get lost in terms of where everyone is at any given moment of their mad dash – while where they are going (literally and figuratively speaking) is as predictable and unexciting as every other movie that has tried (and failed) to rehash the Plains, Trains & Automobiles formula.

By the time we hit an overly-saccharine ending, Identity Thief will already be half out of mind, except to say, ‘that Melissa McCarthy sure is talented.’ Here’s hoping she’s provided with better starring vehicles in the future.


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Identity Thief is now playing in theaters. It is 112 minutes long and is Rated R for sexual content and language.

Our Rating:

2 out of 5

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  1. Pass……..

  2. By chance does the last act of the film have the two work together to fight gangsters that are after them?
    As many comedies have horribly ended as of late.

    • @Cody

      It’s worse than that scenario.

  3. I would give it a high 3. It was funnier then i thought it was going to be. If you like Jason Bateman comedies (which i do) then you’ll love this one. He’s plays the same guy in just about every single movie and this one is no different. The whole T.I. and other mob chick i would have just ditched, didn’t like them at all and they felt very out of place. Would have been better if they just stuck with Robert Patrick as the main bad guy, i thought he did a great job. Loved Eric Stonestreet, he was probably my favorite in the whole movie. When they were in the bar and the hotel room was by far the best scences in the movie. Saw this a few months ago at a special screenin in LA,I’ll probably check it out this weekend to see if they changed anything that us audience members complained about. Thought it was a great comedy and i was laughing throughout. Would definetly recommed it.

  4. Seriously this movie looks so inconceivably stupid and corny. Whose idea was it to make this movie? I just don’t understand…

  5. I would say something about this review but i realized that people on here don’t respect opinions.

    • Actually, I find a very many people here who respect the opinions of others (yes, I’m finding the irony after I just ranted in defense of “Skyfall” and it’s box office success passing TDKR the other day when someone slammed the movie).

      In all though, it’s a very calm sense of respect

    • They don’t respect intelligent opinions like my own. ;)

    • Opinions are readily accepted if they are being voiced respectfully. Give it a shot. ;)

      • That’s what you call: being a baby. Uhhh my dada made a good point about meh but i ignore it cuz he said it meanly! wah wah.

        Grow up.

        • No, being a baby is when people throw a tantrum every time they don’t like something and who attack people who they disagree with. Having a respectul conversation and agreeing to disagree is the behavior of grown-ups.

          • Agreed. Time you start acting like a grown up. Glad we agree on this. ;)

            • You got it wrong.

              • ^ BestComment2013.

                • Dude…let him go.

    • My goodness…

    • IMO it is very funny!!!

    • It’s one of the greatest comedy movies of all time. Have you not seen it?

    • how in the world is that movie “not even close to being funny”? i just re-watched it on netflix last weekend and it still holds up. steve martin and john candy are comedic geniuses and together with the late john hughs they made one of the best road trip films EVER!
      were you just born without a funny bone? to each his own i guess. what is a funny film in your opinion mr radd?

    • Haha, totally agree with you.

      What is it with crappy “comedy” films like this one being loved by so many people?

      Seriously, I remember when American Pie first came out on VHS and I sat with a friend being forced to watch it. He laughed throughout, I sat until the credits had finished rolling wondering when the funny parts will start to happen.

      Same with the parody movies (Scary Movie, Meet The Spartans etc) and The Hangover.

      I think I only liked Horrible Bosses because Jennifer Aniston looked amazing and played against type by being foul mouthed after years of starring in crappy romantic comedies that weren’t romantic or funny.

  6. Mr. Outlaw, would you classify this comedy on the order of the Harold and Kumar films, wherein the comedy is mostly situational as opposed to overarching (akin to Meet the Parents)?

    I love McCarthy, and I’m happy to see her in a new film, showing off her talents. She’s not only great at physical comedy (sorta like a female Chris Farley), but her deliveries are always spot on — even when she’s trying to play it straight. And Bateman is always a joy to see. He’s the perfect straight man.

    So what are we looking at here? Lame story but with great comedic chemistry? Or is this another Hangover II (which sucked, IMHO) or Due Date (which also sucked, IMHO — it was basically a terrible recreation of Planes, Trains & Automobiles).

    I’m gonna rent this anyway, bu what I’m asking is whether it is worth the $6 rental on demand or should I wait the extra month for the $1 Redbox?

    • No you should save all of your money and mind,and see something else,watching this movie is the worst thing that ever happend to me,i would rather watch my family burn to death in a fire than watch this again.

      • so you think this film is worse than “southland tales”? because that and “parasomnia” are 2 of my top “wish i could un-see” films ever

    • you should rent it. It is worth 6 dollars. It should make you laugh

  7. This movie is definitely worth watching. It is funny.

  8. Kofi-A fine review, EXCEPT for this: “Rapper/actor T.I. (Takers, ATL) and breakout bombshell Genesis Rodriguez (The Last Sand, Casa de Mi Padre) play two gangsters on Diana’s tale with such hard menace, it’s like somebody forcibly wedged a slice of urban crime drama into a white bread comedy.”

    As presently used, you’re saying 2 gangsters on Diana’s STORY, as “tale” refers to a story; “tail”, however, would essentially be saying these gangsters were following her.

    Homonyms are never caught by spellcheck, as they are correctly spelled but not always correctly used.

  9. The Box office has spoken!