Identity Thief

Feb 15, 2013

Be careful of the time this comedy will steal from you.

Identity Thief
Grade: C+
Director: Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses)
Screenplay: Craig Mazin (The Hangover Part II)
Cast: Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)
Rating: R
Runtime: 112 min.
by John DeSando

The only real theft in Identity Thief is the partial loss of your life’s two hours.  It’s an innocuous comedy whose trailer gives away not only the general plot line but also some of its most humorous moments, and that’s possibly inflating the comic values because there are only a few such laughable times throughout.

Sandy Bigelow Patterson’s (Jason Bateman) identity has been stolen by Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Melissa McCarty), and it is up to him to bring her to the police and her boss to clear up the string of fraud she has perpetrated in his name.

Once past McCarty’s stock-comic looks (short and fat) and personality (tough with a gruff exterior and soft interior), only set pieces remain, a series of on-the-road mishaps that include motel room gross outs and more than one car chase and crash.  Meanwhile, Bateman does his low-key loveable but out-of-it routine, and McCarty plays up her randy free spirit.

Improbable as many of the situations are, they are not all weak, as evidenced by one or two verbal sparring matches between the Sandys, Bateman cool and clueless, McCarty losing us happily in her many personas.

The time between January and April is a dead season, a dumping ground for movies studios know are not great but must screen sometime.  Why not in the time before Oscars and the summer blockbusters? Works for them and some audience grateful for any movies at all.

I endured Identity Thief, having not my identity stolen but some aesthetic part of me. I’ll be waiting for May.

John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at
He also appears on Fox 28’s Man Panel.
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