Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) gets a nice call confirming his name and other identifying information. The next thing he knows, a spa in Florida is reminding him of his appointment, and his credit cards are maxed out. With his identity stolen, Sandy leaves his wife, kids and job to literally bring the thief to justice in Colorado. But keeping tabs on the other Sandy (Melissa McCarthy) and run-ins with bounty hunters, is harder than he was expecting, and ultimately the cross-country trip is going to find both Sandys learning life tips from one another. Written by
Identity Thief is a weak inconsistency that struggles to find an actual identity
It is deliciously ironic that a movie called Identity Thief has a very tough time building an identity for itself to display to the audience. This movie is a total jumble and lacks enough structure to even attempt to become a decent movie. What saves this movie from being a total disaster are the lead actors which had been on a roll up to this point. For those expecting a deliciously dark follow-up to Horrible Bosses from that same director instead will walk away quite disenchanted and disappointed.
In a nutshell, stressed father and husband Sandy Patterson has his identity stolen resulting in him building up debt that's being accumulated by another person. Desperately in order to save his job and get his life back, he travels down to Florida to find the thief and convince her to return back to Colorado to get things straightened out. This plot is rather ridiculous, which is why it required a screwball or dark comedic taint to remove the absurdity of it all. Unfortunately, despite the trailers and television spots this barely is a dark comedy, and barely works as a comedy to be exact.
Identity Thief is sometimes funny, but never funny enough. It is sometimes dark and twisted, but never truly dark and twisted enough. It's even sometimes emotional and sentimental (very inconsistently I might add), but even that ship sails too soon far too often. Lastly it is sometimes interesting and suspenseful, but, well, you get the point. The intriguing and potentially hilarious premise of a disgruntled victim meeting his money-sucking predator was started by a Floridian teacher, but gets ruined by a bloated and underdeveloped script by Craig Mazin----whom doesn't really have a good repertoire. The mismatched directing of Seth Gordon didn't help either.
It is ultimately the cast that keeps it afloat, even when the script bogs them down. Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy work well together and did a great job despite the circumstances, particularly McCarthy. Then check out the rest of this underused staff: Eric Stonestreet, Robert Patrick, Amanda Peet, Genesis Rodriguez, Morris Chestnut, and John Cho. Plenty of good actors and each with the ability to breathe life into the project, but unfortunately just didn't have enough screen time to make an impact.
Bottom Line: Resembling a weak, watered-down useless version of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles instead of the likes of Horrible Bosses and the best of Danny DeVito, Identity Thief struggles to find the right focus and right footing and winds up becoming a movie that isn't funny enough, isn't dramatic enough, isn't wild enough, isn't likable enough, and generally isn't good enough to warrant a second viewing---or a first one. It's one thing to disappoint, but it's a totally different matter when you disappoint underneath so much potential and so much talent at the helm.
28 of 45 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?