Black comedies are difficult to pull off but, when done right they turn into instant classics that fans will share with others for years to come. Identity Thief is not one of those films. It delivers is a predictable story with unlikeable characters. By the end you believe that our hero deserved to get his identity stolen.

 

The Players

The Plot:

Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Bateman) is just your normal family man trying to maintain a quiet life. It all goes to hell when identity thief Diana (McCarthy) goes on a spending spree on Patterson’s dime, without him knowing it until it’s too late. Now with his job and life in jeopardy, Patterson does the only thing he could do to make this a feature length premise: drive to Florida, track down the thief and bring her to face the authorities. Unfortunately for Patterson, he’s not the only one looking for Diana.

The Good:

  • McCarthy’s Valiant Effort: In a case like this, Melissa McCarthy’s only crime in relation to this movie is just participating in it. She’s acting as a fairly obnoxious, unlikeable character and does so to the best of her abilities, and she does a fine job at it. McCarthy is a solid comedic actress, it’s just unfortunate that her first big co-starring picture had to be this. The actress is a delight onscreen and towards the movie’s climax you almost begin to warm up to her the same way super-sucker Patterson (Bateman) does, but then it quickly fades away when the movie reminds you that there’s another twenty or thirty minutes to go.
  • At Least It’s Not Bad To Look At: Seriously, there are a number of comedies that just boringly shot and ugly to look at. Identity Thief is bright, colorful and well shot. These are the only compliments I can think of giving this movie. It was difficult.

The Decent:

  • Mr. Gordon Behind The Camera: While the material for Identity Thief stinks, Horrible Bosses director Seth Gordon still manages to make it lively. He doesn’t leave the camera planted in one corner of the room for an entire scene — he mixes it up. We’re appreciative of a comedy director who knows how to have a little fun with dancing us around our main characters, even if one of them is having very strange sex.

The Bad:

  • Snooze Town Script: Nobody ever walks into a movie thinking to themselves that they can’t wait to see this super predictable story unfold in front of them for the next hour and a half, but Identity Thief takes you through a familiar, mundane plot of the unlikely friendship. It looked as if the screenwriter hit the snooze button on this movie.
  • Outdated/Awful References: We’re wondering who allowed Kelis’ “Milkshakes” to break out of 2003 and into this movie. Also, it’s amazing how the characters are making references to other bad movies in, well, a bad movie. That just makes the experience just a pinch worse.
  • What Are They There For?: Identity Thief contains a number of bad people doing awful things, including our main characters. At one point our dopey hero decides to take part in a crime himself, which makes it more difficult for you to get behind him when he’s “doing the right thing” towards the end of the film. Then there’s our supposed villains who don’t do much of anything. There’s even one in prison calling all the shots. You see him twice and then he’s never heard from or explained for the rest of the movie. Then there were his two goons whose main objective was to argue with each other and participate in racist jokes. And apologies, but was Robert Patrick bored? The only successful thing his character does is prevent our two heroes from coming into a small town by a matter of hours.
  • Motivation Anyone?:  Everybody’s motive is in this gray area except for Bateman’s character. He needs to get the thief into town to talk with his boss/the police in order to clear his name of these charges. Twenty minutes later, he doesn’t even really mention it again until the last fifteen minutes. Then there’s everybody else in the story, most of which who serve little to no purpose to move the narrative forward. Even Melissa McCarthy’s character on paper sounds hollow as she continues to still be the same character in the end as she was in the beginning (loud, obnoxious, only cares about herself). What a bore.

Overall:

Don’t be afraid to pass on Identity Thief. There’s nothing wrong with saving a few bucks instead of spending it on an overpriced movie ticket.

The Rating:  4/10

Identity Thief is in theaters everywhere.

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Trailer: