Melissa McCarthy is without a doubt, one of the funniest comediennes of today. She had the breakthrough role in Bridesmaids which earned her numerous accolades including a Best Supporting Actress nod. Why on earth would she take on a role that is so annoying that it could make my annoying family member look brilliant is beyond me? Identity Thief unfortunately falls into the usual trap of things that are “too good to be true.” The product sounds great in the sales pitch. However, when you read the fine print, or suffer through the 112 minutes like I have, you will soon realize that Thief could not steal my funny bone.
Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Jason Bateman) is an overworked underpaid accountant who receives a phone call from a woman who claims she works for an identity fraud protection agency. Thinking that this was legit, the gullible Sandy gives up his birthdate, address and social security number to the woman thinking he was safe, right? The woman on the other line was Diana (Melissa McCarthy) a scam artist who used Sandy’s identity by going on a spending spree worth thousands of dollars in her home state of Florida.
One day when the real Sandy’s credit card was declined at a gas station and the police arrested him because of a warrant, Sandy finally put two and two together and realized that he is the victim of identity theft. With the local police not lifting a finger due to jurisdiction and his new job on the line, Sandy flies out to Florida to confront Diana and back her back to Colorado to hopefully clear his name. While going on this road trip of hell, Sandy and Diana are being pursued by a bounty hunter (Robert Patrick) and two professional hitpersons (Genesis Rodriguez & Tip “T.I.” Harris) who make complete fools of themselves rather than give any impact on the film.
Identity Thief is a flawed movie. It fails when writer Craig Mazin and director Seth Gordon puts more sympathy to Diana than Sandy. Diana is alone in the world, no family to comfort her. Yet, her only high is to steal the identities of hard working people in order to make her likable. Now where had I seen part of this plot before? I am sorry but are really supposed to hold Diana’s hand for nearly two hours and tell her that we forgive her for her downtrodden life while she constantly make the same mistakes. Its conduct unbecoming of telling a good story but we are led to believe that this movie is good.
We cannot put the blame on McCarthy nor Bateman for the awful movie. McCarthy did her best for her role but it did not deliver the same laughs as her role in Bridesmaids or her performance when she hosted SNL. While Bateman falls into the Michael Cera trap, playing the same type character in numerous films. In previous films, the formula worked but with Thief, I didn’t feel a thing for Sandy except sympathy for having a unisex name. Let’s be honest would anyone of us have sympathy for Sandy for doing what he did to recover his good name. It’s not worth getting punched in the throat one too many times.
In a hope to steal our funny bones this weekend, we found evidence to put this thief behind bars for a short time on the big screen. The charge: Wasting the audience time and money & the comedic talent of one Melissa McCarthy.
FINAL GRADE: D+