Identity Thief

Director: Seth Gordon

Starring: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, John Cho, Robert Patrick

Written by: Craig Mazin and (story) Jerry Eeten

Running Time: 111 mins

Cert: 15

Release date: 22th March 2013

Melissa McCarthy was the woman who walked away with Brides Maids a few years ago. Her turn as the larger-than-life friend who basically didn’t care was the high point in a pretty funny movie in the first place. So it wasn’t long before the lead roles started coming in for her. Coming later this year is The Heat in which she stars opposite Sandra Bullock. Until then she gets to team up with Jason Bateman in a new comedy. Well, when I say comedy the word has to be used very loosely because even though the leads can be funny, the film isn’t.

Sandy Paterson works as an accounts officer in a huge firm where the boss doesn’t care. He is struggling to pay through life with his wife and children and so decides to join a group of fellow workers and form their own company. What he doesn’t realise is that his identity is being stolen by a woman in Miami. When the police become involved but refuse to do anything, Paterson is on the verge of losing his job so he goes to Florida to bring the woman back to face the charges and hopefully then he gets to keep his job. Soon Sandy and Diana are on the road, being followed by a bounty hunter and a gang of crooks wanting Diana for themselves.

This is a film that you genuinely feel is lazy. It’s a concept that has been done to death and done a whole lot better. It relies on gags that, to be honest, aren’t that funny in the first place. It’s like watching Midnight Run but without the humour. And that is the biggest crime, because the partnership of Bateman and McCarthy are the only thing that makes this bearable.

There are moments that are mildly amusing but at 111 mins, it is so drawn out you find yourself not caring one hoot as to what misadventures this pair get into next. It also suffers from mass predictability. You know before the film completes its title sequence that the pair are going to save each other from almost doom and become friends. Like some lame romantic comedy that Katherine Heigl would make.

We are also forced to endue the same old antics that appear in every other film where mismatched couples are forced into different areas of America. So we end up in a Texan bar, we get some strange cowboy wanted strange sex. we end up in a woods, there’s bound to be a snake or a bear hidden somewhere. It ticks every cliche box going.

So we have Jason Bateman, playing, once again, Mr ordinary with a reasonable job and a nice, perfect family, finding himself in a position that ordinary people with nice, perfect families wouldn’t normally find themselves. He has got the role down to almost an art form, yet it would be nice to see if he could stretch his range more.

Melissa McCarthy is a comedy actress with obvious talents. She does manage to bring some of the moments alive and there are a couple of scenes with Bateman when you can see a solid partnership in the making. It’s just not enough. The film makers should have noticed her talents and taken into account that she needs much better material.

It’s annoying when you can see so much potential in a film and yet the makers can’t and find it easier to just take bits and pieces from other films, stick them together and call it something different, which is unfair on the cinema audience. Best advice is to stay away and rent Midnight Run, or Planes, Trains and Automobiles or the other, far more original and funny road movies. Then maybe one day, someone will find better material for these two leads to star in. Lame and incredibly lazy.

2/5

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