Melissa McCarthy was pretty good in this comedy, and she pulled off the role really well. She has great comedic skills and is able to fit into this half white trash/half career criminal lady. Jason Bateman is probably the weakest point in the film. I like the guy, but he is a bit overwhelmed with this role. It requires a LOT of screen time, and a little bit of his schtick goes a long way. After a while, his whining grows annoying. The concept is pretty funny though, and it isn’t a bad movie. I enjoyed watching it, but was glad I waited for DVD to watch it, rather than spending the cash to see this on the big screen. This is a decent comedy with enough gags and slapstick to make it worth devoting the time to it, so if you’re in the mood for a mindless comedy, you could do much worse than this one. I enjoyed it.
EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog
==Written by Ed Goettman ==
==From: Ed's Review Dot Com (www.edsreview.com)==
No, Identity Thief is not a great film—but it has Melissa McCarthy, and in this case, that means a good deal. Even with Craig Mazin’s phoned-in screenplay, McCarthy develops a well-articulated ethos for her violent, obnoxious con-artist character Diana so convincingly that she somehow manages to elevate lackluster material into a halfway-enjoyable vehicle film. From Diana’s tacky blue eyeshadow to her signature self-defense move—a quick and brutal punch to the throat—the co-lead comes off immediately as a loathsome piece of shit, one who has, within seconds of the film starting, stolen financial number-cruncher Sandy Bigelow Patterson’s (Jason Bateman) identity and credit cards, which she uses to indulge in an epic spending spree. Yet under the veneer of Diana’s fast-talking web of lies and multiple kitchen appliances and self-portraits is a desperate plea for others’ approval and companionship—insecurities pointed out by a bartender who throws her out of a bar for drunken behavior after she buys hundreds of shots for all the patrons.
When the mild-mannered, penny-pinching Sandy (an unimaginative composite of previous Bateman roles) realizes Diana has been using his identity to rack up debt and criminal charges, he is told by the cops that the fastest way to get his identity back is to con the con artist. Thus, Sandy drives from Denver to Florida to convince Diana to do him the courtesy of explaining her criminal actions to Sandy’s new boss, who fired him, while also leading her right into a cop trap. The prickly Diana is initially resistant and cleverly defensive to Sandy’s request, until two random criminals begin searching for her, guns in tow. Partly out of necessity, she forms an unlikely alliance with Sandy and the two play out an odd-couple road trip for the rest of the film, encountering rattlesnakes, a bounty hunter, a horny real-estate agent (played by an undervalued Eric Stonestreet), many smashed-up cars and even a modest indulgence in more identity theft.
Throughout it all, no matter how much Diana is beaten up, caged or plowed over, she always pulls herself up and frequently has to tell a whiny Sandy to “man up;” indeed, she enjoys emasculating him with nefarious glee, as witnessed in scenes in which the two pretend to be a married couple and she tells everyone about her husband’s erectile dysfunction. McCarthy’s body is also heavily objectified in the film—not sexually, but as a prop to make jokes about her weight, supposed sexual perversity, rock-hard endurance and inability to look “hot” without the help of stylists. (Indeed, when Sandy initially sees her mug shot, he calls her a Hobbit.) Body humor is certainly fun, and there’s no reason why actors with heavier frames should be excluded on grounds of political correctness—but it’s a role McCarthy has inhabited before (e.g. Bridesmaids), and it’s unfortunate that, for all her considerable talents (she’s one of the finest comediennes in the business), she appears to be becoming typecast. Worse, the film seems to buy into the deeply Hollywood ethos that physical beauty is the path to happiness. At one point, Diana catches three salon employees in the middle of laughing at her appearance; she gives them a somber look and walks away, but then defiantly turns around. One would imagine that the tough-ass grifter is about to stand up for herself at this point—but instead, she plaintively asks, “Can you please help me?” They embrace her, nodding and gently pushing her into a salon chair. While the physical makeover—in which her frizzy curls are replaced with wavy locks and her tacky makeup with a more refined, natural look—is certainly in keeping with Diana’s desire to turn over a new leaf, it’s offensive that she wouldn’t at least call them out on their juvenile disrespect for her physical appearance.
Despite it all, the film’s ending somehow manages to be effectively touching: Diana reveals her real background to Sandy with stoic sadness and obvious self-hatred that makes some sense of her behavior, and while it’s not a perfectly orchestrated redemption arc, McCarthy uncannily makes it work. It’s almost a relief that Identity Thief’s shallow thematic backdrop of financial corruption and recession frugality never quite come together: That would be directing attention away from McCarthy, who steals the show in mesmerizing fashion.
==Written by Tina Hassannia==
==From: In Review Online (www.inreviewonline.com)==
Bateman plays Sandy Patterson, a lowly businessman in Colorado who manages his company’s in-house accounts, which, as his awful boss Harold Cornish (Jon Favreau) puts it, a computer program could do. He’s not held in very high regard at his job despite his high quality of work, so when his co-worker, Daniel (John Cho), offers him a job at his new upstart company where he’ll be making five times what he’s making now, he immediately accepts. Besides, he has a loving wife (Amanda Peet) and two young children at home to take care of, with another on the way. However, he soon finds out his identity has been stolen by an unnamed woman in Florida (Melissa McCarthy) who has taken part in illegal activities, confusing police and making him the prime suspect. This doesn’t look good for the company, so he makes an agreement with his boss and the local cop (whose jurisdiction doesn’t extend beyond Denver): if he can bring this woman to Colorado and have her confess, he’ll get to keep his job and the cops can close the case. They both agree, so he jets off to Florida to find her.
What follows is a predictable movie where the two seemingly opposite, initially at odds characters spark an eventual friendship and begin to appreciate each other, yet the narrative arc to those revelations is absurd to the extreme and mixes in bounty hunters, additional identity thefts, car chases and wildlife encounters. Because the proceedings are so outlandish, it’s hard to take what’s happening seriously, even if you manage to overlook the contrived set-up that sets them off on this adventure. The two, in and of themselves, aren’t particularly interesting characters either, or at least not as a pair. She’s a loud, obnoxious and colorful (in that she wears too much make-up) bore who flails her body around trying to wring out a laugh and he is a whiny, gullible idiot. It’s his own nitwittedness that got him to this point anyway—everyone knows not to give out personal information over the phone. She has wronged him to the point where his life is crashing down. His finances are depleted and services, like cable, that we all take for granted are getting shut off, so his eventual realization that, hey, she’s not such a bad person after all is unconvincing and trite.
However, this turn doesn’t come completely out of left field; the filmmakers certainly tried to realistically get them to that point. Early in the film, for example, this unnamed woman’s friendlessness and loneliness is established, however bluntly it may be (“They’re not your friends,” a bartender says as she uses Sandy’s money to milk the bar. “They just like you because you’re buying them drinks”), yet she’s such a vindictive and selfish woman that it fails to elicit any type of caring in the viewer. If Identity Thief has about ten percent of the emotion a good drama should have, it has about two percent of the laughs of a comedy equivalent. Because the characters are so unlikable, their shenanigans are barely diverting, much less funny and the film’s humor falls flat time and time again.
Its best moment comes when the characters act like real, decent human beings (imagine that). One excellent scene forces McCarthy to show her acting chops, going from goofy to sad and back again, and she pulls it off with grace, proving she has what it takes to carry a movie, even if this one will make her detractors say otherwise. Decrease the farce and make a real movie with a real message and Identity Thief could have proven to be something interesting, a movie that warms the heart and provides occasional laughs, but its over-the-top nature proves to be its downfall. It’s neither sweet nor funny. Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy and the movie going audience deserve a whole lot better than what this has to offer.
Identity Thief receives 1/5
==Written by Josh Hylton ==
==From: Josh Hylton Movies (www.joshhylton.com)==
English (United States)
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Spanish (Spain, Traditional Sort)