Plot summary (from the studio): Horrible Bosses’ Jason Bateman and Bridesmaids’ Melissa McCarthy lead the cast of Identity Thief, an all-star comedy in which a regular guy is forced to extreme measures to clear his name. With everything to lose after his identity is stolen, he’ll find out how crazed you can get trying to settle a bad credit score.
Unlimited funds have allowed Diana (McCarthy) to live it up on the outskirts of Orlando, where the queen of retail buys whatever strikes her fancy. There’s only one glitch: The ID she’s using to finance these sprees reads “Sandy Bigelow Patterson”… and it belongs to an accounts rep (Bateman) who lives halfway across the U.S.
With only one week to hunt down the con artist before his world implodes, the real Sandy Bigelow Patterson heads south to confront the woman with an all-access pass to his life. And as he attempts to bribe, coax and wrangle her the 2,000 miles to Denver, one easy target will discover just how tough it is to get your name back.
Warning: Spoilers below!
- Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy had some decent comedic chemistry in this film. I enjoyed most of their bickering and thought they did what they could with the material.
- I liked that Sandy ended up in prison at the end. It was good to see a main character having to face serious consequences for their actions instead of getting some ridiculous plea deal that would never happen IRL.
- I thought there was some real potential to explore Diane’s vulnerabilities and uncover the reasons she chose a life of crime. The filmmakers hinted at it several times by showing her pained expression whenever people laughed at her. I just wish more time had been devoted to developing that part of the character.
- The wife wasn’t a nagging shrew! I could easily see that character being portrayed as someone constantly berating the husband for his mistakes or viciously insisting that they show no mercy to Diane. But the wife here, while perhaps more tolerant than anyone in that situation would really be, hit the right note as the voice of reason without becoming too much of a doormat or a bitch.
- I don’t really have to go into all the implausibilities in the script, like the Denver detectives encouraging Sandy to go after the criminal himself or the St. Louis cops’ decision to turn a blind eye to Sandy’s involvement in the Cornish fraud or …. You get the drift.
- This movie is highly derivative of such films as Due Date, Midnight Run, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, and even The Bounty Hunter. It’s basically the story of an odd couple forced to travel together and shows the hijinks that occur during the journey.
- The script simply wasn’t as funny as I hoped it would be. There are definitely some laughs along the way, but with Bateman and McCarthy involved, I expected a whole lot more.
- I didn’t like the couple that was pursuing Diane. That part of the story didn’t carry enough of an explanation. We just got a throwaway line about Diane having sold the duo’s boss some bad credit card numbers and that was it. My problem with this angle was that Diane didn’t seem to be that kind of criminal. Yes, she stole identities so she could pamper herself and live it up. But getting involved with gun-toting, murderous types answering to a guy in prison? No way.
- I thought it was a bad move to make Sandy be okay with impersonating Cornish and stealing company money. Yes, the guy was a dick and deserved to be knocked down several pegs. But the message there seemed to be that committing fraud and theft is perfectly fine as long as the victim isn’t a nice person. Slippery slope, that one.
I really wanted to love Identity Thief because I do like Jason Bateman (despite the fact that he has played this same overly nice Average Joe SO MANY times before) and Melissa McCarthy and thought they would be great together. But I ended up finding this one only mildly entertaining. The laughs were in shorter supply than I’d hoped, the plot was weak, and the running time was at least 20 minutes too long. I give this one 3 stars out of 5.