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
Every car they took, except for the original rental car, has a crushed can of Red Bull on the dash. See more »
When Sandy stops for gas in Denver, and finds his credit cards declined, the gas station pumps have three choices of octane: 87, 89, and 92. Since Denver is at an altitude of 5280 feet (Mile High), the octane choices of all local gas stations are 85, 87, and 91 octane. See more »
Formulaic road trip comedy, but the actors make the jokes funny
As the cartoon-ish posters tell us, Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) is a sucker. He just gave his personal identification information to a stranger over the phone. Sandy Patterson (Melissa McCarthy) is the "Identity Thief". After getting arrested and almost getting fired from his job, the real Sandy Patterson is determined to get his identity back. A stupid but convenient police procedural sets Sandy off across the country to bring the criminal to justice.
It's the type of film where critics and audiences are at odds. Critics think it's one of the worst comedies ever made, audiences don't particularly like it all that much either, but are paying to see it in theatres in droves. Go figure. Well, I liked it. It has its fair share of problems, but it can make you laugh, simply and effectively.
The key to comedy is timing. Bateman is a good comedic actor and he has great comedic timing. His lines are funny enough and we are able to laugh at his misfortunes because we know good will have to come to him eventually. The film itself also has good timing. A handful of well- timed edits had me screaming, laughing and crying in a ball as a snake squirmed its way up Sandy's pants. The scene that followed handled an animal joke better than most similar comedies do.
Say what you will about Melissa McCarthy, but she's a good actress based solely on the fact that every character she has played is completely different than any she has played before. "Sandy"/Diana is not Molly, not the filthy Megan, not the scattered Sookie and not any of the darker characters that she played in a few dramas. Diana has no friends (but can buy some using Sandy's money) because she's extreme in her actions. But that's where comedy lies, in the extreme.
"Identity Thief" does take the road trip comedy angle and makes it fairly formulaic with the various obstacles, but that's also what makes it likable. Sandy is likable, Diana is over-the-top but that's what makes the comedy work. The film, though, is a "soft R", meaning the jokes are tame and silly not overly crude or crass. Considering how much audiences love the R-rated comedy, that's apparently the problem with this movie. It just wasn't raunchy enough for them. Well, I can like my comedies with a few less swear words and no nudity, so I liked it.
17 of 29 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?