Cert: 15 Runtime: 111 mins Director: Seth Gordon Cast: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Amanda Peet, Genesis Rodriguez, John Cho, Eric Stonestreet and John Favreau
She’s having the time of his life
So after Seth Gordon’s success with Horrible Bosses I had my fill of Jason Bateman for one year, now with Identity Thief out this month I thought I would get a nibble before Arrested Development season 4 kicks off. So what is Identity Theft? Mild-mannered Colorado businessman Sandy (Jason Bateman) is experiencing a normal day like any other – until his card is declined at the petrol station. But this is merely the start of his problems. It turns out his card has, inexplicably, exceeded its credit limit and he’s being charged for a multitude of bizarre things. Apparently, he’s also missed a court date in Florida. Never having been to Florida, Sandy smells a rat – and sure enough he discovers a woman in Miami has stolen his identity! The culprit is Diana (Melissa McCarthy) who’s been living it up on Sandy’s money, splashing out on clothes and goods. But Diana will rue the day she stole this man’s identity as Sandy is coming to Florida to track her down . This is a straight forward plot that any monkey can follow, my first point it’s too long!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 cast 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.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 likeable 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.