There is a saying that goes “Good from far, far from good” and it applies to this film. If you saw any of the trailers for Identity Thief you were probably like me and were anticipating seeing it. The trailers made it look funny. Unfortunately the film doesn’t back that promise up. Save for the comedic acting talents of Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy this would be a total disaster.
Being bland does not protect you from criminals being interested in your life. Dull accounts rep Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman – from television’s Arrested Development) is guy in which nothing exciting ever happens in his life. Well, that is all about to change. He is going to go on a road trip to Miami. It is not a fun road trip in that it is being undertaken in order to confront the person who has stolen his identity. On top of that she is spending all his money and having a grand ole time doing it. Sandy is going there to “capture” the grifter and bring her back to the police in Denver. Not sure about the logic behind that plan. Which all becomes clear on the long drive back.
Right out of the gate I loved Melissa McCarthy. I remember her playing a chef at an inn on the quirky television series Gilmour Girls. She exuded likeability and had great comedic timing. After the end of the show she has gone on to show off all that comedic talent in films like Bridesmaids and This Is 40 and another television series, Mike and Molly. It would take a Herculean effort to carry this lump of a film. It is even beyond the talents of McCarthy. She is lugging around a lot of dead weight. With no help whatsoever from the script or her director, the old college try is given again and again demonstrating her gameness, but it is to no avail. Paired up with another solid comedic actor in Jason Bateman you have the potential of comedic goldmine. That never happens. What a waste of talent.
The humour in the film is so flat that it is even sadder than a helium balloon after it has lost all of its gas. It is a ground fertile for comedy. A road trip involving to complete opposites – the bland and naïve every guy and the bubbly if slightly deviant grifter. We never achieve comedic lift off. Another movie with a good concept but horrible content.
I don’t know what the director was thinking when constructing how he was going to shoot the film in his mind but it could not have been this. He is completely lost. Even where he decides to put his camera is wrong. It is stupefying to me that this guy has only done comedy shows or films. It is like he is completely a fish out of water. Every step he takes is a misstep. And please, punching someone in the throat is marginally funny the first time but completely annoying the fifth time.
Melissa McCarthy is so good as the bubbly likeable criminal and Jason Bateman has always been excellent at playing a normal guy that you really want to like the film, but it doesn’t work out. The script is a little too crazy and Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses, Four Christmases) really loses the handle on this one. To make matters even worse there wasn’t too many laughs to be found. I honestly really looked for them and could find very few.