Seth Gordon is the man behind such comedies as Four Christmases and Horrible Bosses. While Horrible Bosses looked great to begin with, after viewing, it really wasn’t all that special. When you get talent like Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, and of course, Jason Bateman, you can’t let us down like that. But it did. It was stale and not very funny. But I am willing to give him another shot with Identity Thief.
Identity Thief (Why not just call it Identity Theft, guys?) is Seth Gordon’s latest comedy featuring Jason Bateman and the rising star that is Melissa McCarthy.
The story revolves around Sandy Patterson (Bateman), who is a hard working but not outspoken man who takes a lot of shit from his boss (Jon Favreau). Sandy goes home to his wife (Amanda Peet) and kids. They are struggling financially and Sandy is relying on a probable promotion to help get him out of the shit.
When that opportunity for a promotion fades, Sandy’s disgruntled coworkers, led by his good friend Daniel (John Cho), have decided to leave the company and start their own firm. Daniel offers Sandy a VP position at said company, and he has no other choice but to take the risk and accept.
In the meantime, with a quick phone call to Sandy himself, “Diana” (McCarthy) was able to extract enough information to steal his information. She blows his money on unnecessary things like wave runners, expensive salon trips, massaging chairs, and much more.
Sandy decides to take matters into his own hands after a run-in with the police proves to be pointless. He goes from Colorado all the way to Florida to take the thief into custody himself, convince her to come to Colorado, and get a confession out of her to clear his name. Easier said than done.
Identity Thief turns into a road trip movie, where after Diana agrees to come along a few crime lords come looking for their money follow them across the country to find and kill the two.
Obviously, the movie goes off the back and forth interactions between Bateman and McCarthy. Though on paper it may sound good, it’s not as pleasant as one would hope.
Jason Bateman plays, well, your average Jason Bateman. That’s not a bad thing by any means. The persona of the mildly mannered guy he is will always be his thing. He’s good at that. Michael Bluth wouldn’t be the same without him. But this role seemed like he was just phoning it in. He didn’t give very much to the movie that was up to par with his previous work. A simple man who follows the rules, but learns to bend them a little to get what he wants. It’s Bateman in his mildest form.
Melissa McCarthy on the other hand was great in Bridesmaids. She played the rude and crude woman who knew what she wanted. Her character in Identity Thief is sort of in the ballpark, but she lacks something that makes her character well rounded: confidence. Diane comes off as someone who, while being very erratic, is also insecure. Not necessarily about her weight, but her character had a past of being abandoned. How she dealt with it was by stealing identities since she never really had her own. I get that whole emotional part of it, but I don’t think it fits McCarthy well. Confidence is what makes her great.
The movie wasn’t all that bad though. I’m not saying it wasn’t funny. There were a few moments that were pretty good, but a lot of the gags relied on meager sex jokes and gags directed towards Jason Bateman’s fictitiously mangled man parts.
Bateman and McCarthy together try hard to get some comedy gold, but only come up with bronze. Identity Thief was a good try. It had good leads and a good premise, but just could not deliver. Bateman and McCarthy both give meh performances, but that can’t all fall on them. They have great potential, but maybe director Seth Gordon just doesn’t have a thing. Most of his work is mild and has much more potential. It seems that Identity Thief will be tossed up into that pile. It’s not all rubbish. There are few moments with heart and others with some good laughs, but it’s just not very fulfilling.
Identity Thief – 6.5/10