Movie Review: Identity Thief (2013)
Aside from having a girl’s first name, “Sandy Patterson” (Jason “Horrible Bosses” Bateman) is an ordinary guy with a wife, two kids, a house, and a job. When things seem to be looking up, he finds himself suddenly maxed out on all his credit cards. When he is arrested for failure to show up for a court date in Florida he had no idea about, he and the arresting “Detective Reilly” (Morris “Boyz n the Hood” Chestnut) discover that his identity has been stolen.
With his new job on the line because of the bad publicity from the arrest, Patterson realizes that the only way to stop the thief and clear things up is to fly down to Florida and make a citizen’s arrest and bring the thief back to Colorado to stand trial, thereby clearing his name. But getting there and back in one piece will be difficult.
Bridesmaids” McCarthy), he soon finds out that she is wanted by a violent, off-the-books debt collector (Robert “T1000” Patrick) and two members of organized crime (T.I. “Soul Train” and Genesis “Man on a Ledge” Rodriguez) who are not one bit happy that she ripped them off. Thus begins a cumbersome and unnecessarily difficult journey through several states, with bad guys in hot pursuit—an adventure of frustrations, improbabilities, and stunted humor.
Identity Thief starts out on a wonderfully appealing note. This is due in part to McCarthy’s high energy and Bateman’s priceless expressions. Though it is only funny occasionally – and that by appealing to crude, sexual humor such as the usual “limp dick” putdowns and lounge lizard easiness – it is funny when it is not frustrating. It is frustrating because of the plot logistics, many of which we have to try and look past because they don’t make sense.
Looking past all of these issues can become a problem, like when Sandy must break into his old boss’ account to get emergency funds to get home after his wallet has gone missing. The entire scheme moves the plot along easily enough, but reminds us that none of this would happen like it does.
In the name of good fun, Identity Thief doesn’t entertain us by making us laugh till it hurts, but by giving us a story that eventually plays to our softer sides the longer we watch, although maybe it shouldn’t. Even the way it ends is a reflection of the wobbly writing we are forced to get used to from midway and onward.
While character and values are the core issues behind it, the movie’s shaky framework and needless scenes/lame antics don’t do it justice. Those looking for nothing more than a light-hearted movie adventure may, nonetheless, be willing to forgive its many faults.