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Oh My God this movie was bad
it hurt to sit through the
first 20 minutes to get to the point. I felt I could review it due
without ever bothering to digest the whole piece.
Despite the high profile comedic talent on hand, (Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy), the movie is so predictable that you can guess almost every nuance in it. If you wish to have your intelligence insulted for an hour and a half, this is for you.
The idiotic pranks the script calls for in the first half hour are so predictable, you laugh at the characters as they attempt to convince you they're going through the actual experience of identity theft. The lame attempt to profile a law enforcement agent's disdain for having to pursue an identity thief is akin to what the audience feels in their effort to connect with the characters. McCarty's character is so predictable we've seen it 100 times in Hollywood. Good person feels unloved, steals someone else's material goods to feel appreciated, throws party, is told no one cares and voila they want to do right.
Hello, thanks for your complete lack of originality.
When you have comedic talent, you don't have to give them an 9th grader's high school play script to read. Give them some real material. McCarthy's character is so predictable you already hate her before you're invested into why she actually bother to steal Bateman's character's identity. By the time the movie reveals that McCarthy is a self-loathing, conceited, self deprecating individual who wants out of her predictable Drug/gang related troubles, you have no empathy for her character what-so-ever. In fact, you've already begun to detest her role as a leach.
Bateman is the only character worth investing in and perhaps that's because we still identify with him as one of the principles in Hancock, nearly the same character.
If I'm spending $8 to see a film it sure as heck isn't this one.
Give us a real script and less predictable jokes, less predictable outcomes and less predictable plot lines. Yes, the actors were funny, but everything else about this film suc&ed.
Save your $ go see something else.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have sympathy for Jason Bateman's Sandy Bigelow-Patterson for reasons
other than he was victim to identity fraud. Being a male and having the
name "Sandy" sets up a variety of jokes from socially childish people
who have never seen a male with the unisex name of "Sandy." Had it not
been for my sweet mother, I would've been "Michel Pulaski," rather than
"Steven" because of my father's obsession with Canada and their hockey
players and Quebec Nordiques-player Michel Goulet.
Other than that, that's about all the sympathy I have for the characters in Seth Gordon's Identity Thief. Overlong, underwritten, and tritely crafted, this is a perfect example of a comedy in the genre I call "maximum antics, minimum laughter." To qualify for the placement, you must subject a somewhat interesting premise to more grating physical schtick than the intelligently crafted kind, which centers around characters, wit, heart, substance, and wordplay.
As established, Bateman plays Sandy Bigelow-Patterson, a mild-mannered everyman, functioning aimlessly in the corporate world that leaves him stuck in the center of the ladder. He struggles not only with responsibility and a constant neglect in a pay raise, but with his wife (Amanda Peet) and two children, whose demands will soon become greater. The last thing Sandy needs is Diana (Melissa McCarthy), a portly, frantic, remorseless woman who targets Sandy as the latest victim in her ongoing credit card fraud scheme by obtaining his information via prank call, making him believe his credit card account is in jeopardy. It is when him and a number of his coworkers ditch their dead-end jobs and begin working at a company created by one of the ex-employees (John Cho) does Sandy feel his life is on the up-and-up.
Sandy is soon arrested for failing to appear at a court hearing for Diana, and this is when he discovers he is a victim of an identity theft. Because the law enforcement of Denver has a cockamamie list of rules they adhere to, not arresting or even researching Diana's records since she lives in Winter Park, Florida, Sandy decides to take matters into his own hands by going down to Florida to nab Diana and get her to confess to law enforcement and to his boss to remain secure in his life again. He assumes that because of Diana's pudgy nature, she'll be an easy catch, until he finds that she's a violent, dangerous menace that is almost frighteningly haunted and mentally off balance. Not only that, but both are being pursued by a witless debt collector and two other assassins that want both dead for the crimes they've committed or allegedly committed.
What ensues is a predictable, uneven road comedy between the two, with two actors swimming in potential, but wasting it in a comedy of tired errors. Jason Bateman can play straight characters in obscure worlds in a beautiful way (see Extract for reference), and Melissa McCarthy showed that being gross can be funny in Judd Apatow's Bridesmaids. Both of their schticks begin to show signs of wear as Identity Thief haplessly approaches the hour mark and many laugh-inducing situations have been proposed but none of them fully exercising them.
Gordon's previous film was Four Christmases, a film that wasn't as mawkish and oversentimentalized as it could've been. While it still accentuated a rather negative relation to the holiday of Christmas and was part of the genre I just spoke of, it still kept its premise concise and did not overcompensate its material to a ghastly overlong length. Identity Thief does the opposite. Its unnecessary sequences involving overweight people having intercourse and public humiliation are got from the drearily immature cloth I'm growing ever-so fond of laying in when I watch comedies.
Yet the film really drops the ball when it attempts to make Diana a character we're supposed to feel bad for after all her menace, violent nature, unjustifiable cruelty, and not to mention, her willingness to commit crimes of sheer carelessness. She is so loathsome that it isn't that her dramatic instances where her character receives humanization fall flat, but it's that she's proved herself to be such a smug, arrogant, astronomically mean-spirited character that it's like trying to accept a friend back after he's taken advantage of you numerous times. You feel cheated, used, and now, foolish to consider accepting them back into your life.
Identity Thief unfortunately subjects its leads into joyless, gimmicky physical schtick, frequent car chases, and sorely unfunny scenes that evoke the least common denominator of juvenile humor. It may not be as unabashedly quirky as some other comedic efforts I've seen this year, but regarding the cast, the material, and the ability of the director to create a comfortable, unobtrusive atmosphere, this endeavor should've much, much funnier.
Starring: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Amanda Peet, and John Cho. Directed by: Seth Gordon.
This is the single worst movie I have seen since Mirrors. A horrible,
laugh-less movie with no redeeming qualities. Not even Jason Bateman's
usual charm or the cameos by Jon Favreau and Robert Patrick could save
this van-wreck of a movie.
Melissa McCarthy's "Diana" was the single most unlikeable character in recent years. Unrelatable, unfunny, unworthy of an hour and a half of screen time. Suspending your disbelief is one thing, but "Identity Thief" requires something a little closer to a lobotomy. With an ending you couldn't miss if you were Helen Keller, there is nothing worth sticking around for. In fact, Helen Keller could've made a better slap- stick comedy than Seth Gordon.
It pains me to see Jason Bateman's name attached to such a horrible movie and I truly hope his next project fairs MUCH better. The worst thing is, "Identity Thief" has already made more money than much better films out there.
One hour and forty seven minutes of my life I will never get back.
I do not recommend this movie to anyone.
Director Seth Gordon's previous feature, "Horrible Bosses" (2012),
wasn't anything special as a comedy despite its potential, but it
contained a few clever moments to make it worthwhile. "Identity Thief"
makes a fatal mistake when Gordon attempts to incorporate a dramatic
element to the story line. By going in this direction, it is no longer
possible to view "Identity Thief" as a compilation of marginal fat
jokes, sex gags, and slapstick humor. Instead, we are forced to absorb
a "serious" aspect that is so poorly rendered it's unbearable to watch.
There are bad movies, and then there's "Identity Thief."
"Identity Thief" starts out as a comedy about a nice, clean-cut guy named Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman), who travels from the Colorado home he shares with his wife, Trish (Amanda Peet), and two daughters, to Florida. His goal: track down the woman who stole his identity, trashed his credit rating, and cost him his job. She's Diana (Melissa McCarthy), a fat, foul-mouthed dipstick who is freely spending as she adds to Sandy's debt. What transpires is a series of completely implausible situations that transforms "Identity Thief" into a mismatched buddy film. And that's when the wheel's come off completely. The film suffers from the classic complaint that the funniest moments were in the trailer, and even then it's nothing special. A strong contender for the Razzies, and for those unfamiliar, they acknowledge and award the worst movie of the year. Proceed with caution .you've been warned.
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
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.
The cast is too talented to have let something like this happen. But
here they are. The film has good intentions, but it doesn't seem to
know what it wants to be as the tone of the film shifts quite
frequently. And this shift in plot and narrative work their way back to
the characters, forcing us to always remain at arms length and never
really become attached or concerned with them. There were plot points
that could have been exploited, and others that could have been omitted
in order to remedy this situation.
Often throughout the film I was on the cusp of laughing at the jokes or being pulled along by the characters, but then would be immediately cut loose. It feels like the film went to production one script revision too soon.
In the end it feels like a modern retelling of De Sica's 1948 Neorealist film The Bicycle Thieves. Just with a traditional Hollywood ending and little to no exploration of the human condition.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Identity Thief" has a few cheap laughs here and there, and Jason
Bateman & Melissa McCarthy have pretty good chemistry together, but the
film's story completely falls flat. I didn't hate the film (though the
last act is pretty dreadful), but there wasn't a single second where I
was buying anything that was happening on screen, at any point
throughout the entire movie. The basic premise being, Master Bateman
(playing "Sandy") finds out McCarthy is using his credit cards to buy
things, racking up thousands of dollars, so he subsequently goes to
Florida to find her, then take her back to his home in Denver, and they
quite inexplicably become bestest buds along the way.
The film's credibility pretty much dissolves not even ten minutes in, when the police flatly refuse to help Sandy find and arrest the woman stealing his identity because it's outside their jurisdiction. Well, yeah, that's why you'd call the police in Florida and fax them all the info you have on her, so THEY can go arrest her. And, while the cops may be apathetic towards Sandy's identity-theft plight (not likely, though, since she may have multiple victims), they most certainly would not be apathetic towards the fact that there is a warrant out for her arrest, for assault and public drunkenness, and that she skipped her court hearing and is also a fugitive. But since cops generally get off on arresting people, you can just bet that they'd come down on this woman like Thor's Hammer. So, since the police refuse to concern themselves with this dangerous criminal, Sandy must then himself drive down to Florida, which takes one night, and makes a citizens' arrest on her, or something, which seems like it might be incredibly dangerous and not something the police would let him do. But if they didn't, obviously there wouldn't be any movie.
Anyways, Sandy accomplishes this and finds the woman (McCarthy), then manages to drag her along with him in his car, and the film from then on basically settles into "road trip" mode as they travel across the country. There is admittedly some funny interplay between the two as they go to restaurants, motels, bars, etc. and frequent castration jokes (most of the film's funny stuff is in this section). However, since Sandy doesn't seem too concerned with keeping an eye on this woman, she is presented with multiple opportunities to escape, but doesn't because, I guess, she feels bad for his kids or something. There is also a bounty-hunter played by Robert Patrick, and two drug dealers, whose plots and characters amount to nothing and are basically just filler.
So, the two manage to travel across the U.S. in about two weeks, even though it took Sandy only one night to initially drive down to Florida, and make it to St. Louis, where Sandy steals his former bosses' (Jon Favreau, receiving top billing despite being in the film for less than two minutes and having gained quite a substantial amount of weight) credit card info, which he uses it to buy a lavish hotel suite for himself and McCarthy, who masturbates with a shower nozzle. This seemed so absurd and improbable that I flatly expected Sandy to dump his wife for McCarthy and pin the credit-card fraud on her (Amanda Peet, having finally been typecast as the matronly wife). Then they get arrested and escape from the cops and make it back to Denver, where (in the utterly preposterous final act of the movie) McCarthy becomes bestest friends with Sandy and his family, to the point where they visit her in prison and say "I love you!" even though she is a sociopathic criminal who stole thousands of dollars from him. The film becomes so painfully sappy in the final act that you feel as though you're drowning in all the syrup that's dripping down from the screen.
Another issue I had with this film was it's digital cinematography. As we all know, celluloid is largely being replaced by HD cameras and projectors at this point. However, sitting close to the screen in the theater, there was something that bugged me about it. The cinematography itself was fine, sharp and clear with solid colors. However (and this may have just been a projection issue), for the first hour or so, I had no issue with it. Then there is some slow-motion photography - the crappy, blurry video-kind of slow motion with lots of strobing problems - and for the rest of the movie, you see the very subtle blurriness of the motion between the interlaced frames, and it bugged me after a while. Not too much, but somewhat. This may just be an issue with the Arriflex Alexa, which seems like a crappy camera when compared with the Red Epic (I don't know if it has the same problems). This is just another problem with HD that isn't evident anywhere in the far superior 35mm format, but as long as filmmakers don't have to strain themselves (or their writing abilities) making movies, all is good.
Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) discovers that his identity has been
stolen by Diana (Melissa McCarthy) and goes to where she is in Florida
to bring her to justice and get his life back.
The promos did me in again. They were funny and the only things that were funny in this "comedy." When I saw the name Melissa McCarthy I was dreading her spewing off foul and raunchy language for 3-minutes without breathing. She has that shtick judging from earlier movies I have seen of her, but, surprisingly that never happened, thank goodness.
Diana is basically the main character and Sandy just goes along for the ride trying to get his life back. Diana does the silly, stupid, but mandatory things a Hollywood comedy must have and we in the audience cringe a lot. So much for comedy. This could have been good and funny, but those silly, stupid and mandatory things trump everything else that could have been used no matter how good they may have been. So much for any creativity. We get the same things over and over again and timing be damned. After a while it all becomes tedious, bland, and why are we watching?
To be fair Jason Bateman does have good timing and some of his actions inject some humor into this. I wish someone would come up with a script that hi-lites Bateman's talent and not just treat him like a 5th wheel. (Hey, maybe it's him picking these weak, not funny scripts.) Hmmm (3/10)
Violence: Yes. Sex: Yes, simulated in a motel room. Nudity: No. Adult sexual Language: Yes. Language, other: Yes, not much surprisingly
Disappointed would be the first word that comes to mind. With such a
colorful cast, you would expect a "laugh out loud" comedy but I found
that aside from a few scenes, that was not the case. Melissa McCarthy
was a riot in the movie Bridesmaids and her weekly TV show Mike an
Molly so naturally you would assume a movie where she plays the leading
role would be hilarious but the film definitely left something to be
desired. I would say to save your money and to wait until the DVD
5.5 out of 10
See my other reviews at: http://maxsmoviestub.wordpress.com/
Critics i.e. Rex Reed, must really have it out for Melissa McCarthy
because the hateful reviews on this movie and her personally are not
If you like slapstick, raunchy, adult comedies then you will like Identity Thief. McCarthy shines in this movie, her physical comedy talent is right on the mark and she really gives her character a heart and soul. Bateman does well as the straight man caught up in McCarthy's crazy world of con games and identity theft.
This is pure escapism entertainment, you have to suspend your disbelief and just go for the ride. This is not Argo or Lincoln and it's not supposed to be. We saw this 3/9/13 at the Muvico and the theater was packed! Everyone seemed to enjoy the movie and the four of us thought it was hysterical. There are some really good one liners and physical comedy situations here. The box office success of this movie goes to show you that critics don't know bs about what people find funny. I can't wait to see Melissa in her new movie with Sandra Bullock.
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