Identity Thief

Life for Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman), is a comfortable middle class existence. He is a father of two daughters and is expecting a third child soon with his loving wife Trish (Amanda Peet). While they have financial concerns with the pending arrival of their new baby, Sandy is hoping for a bonus and promotion at his job working for a financial service company. Things take a turn for the worse for Sandy when not only does he get neither a bonus nor promotion, but he learns that his supervisors are authorizing themselves large bonus checks which he is in charge of issuing.

Sandy and his friend Daniel (John Cho), decide that enough is enough and decide to start their own company with Sandy as V.P. Although a risky move, this could be the answer to his financial needs and Sandy jumps aboard without a second thought. Enter Diana (Melissa McCarthy), a professional identity thief who packs her Florida home with all manner of items obtained via her knack for creating credit cards belonging to other people.

Sandy thanks to his unisex name, has become the latest target for Diana and in no time, finds that his credit cards are maxed out, and worst yet, he is wanted by the police. This does not sit well for his new position as a V.P. with credit issues and warrants will scare off investors. Sandy learns that the timeline for clearing his name can be extensive, so he hatches a plan after receiving a spa confirmation call from Florida. Sandy with the knowledge of the police plans to travel to Florida and bring the person who has stolen his identity to Denver to clear his name. He hopes that a promise of no prosecution will trick her into the trip and clearing his good name.

Since the film is a comedy, things naturally do not go as planned as Denise is crafty and will resort to anything from throat punches to vehicular assault to stay one step ahead of the law. Denise has run afoul of a criminal element for issuing them credit cards that she has already maxed out and they dispatch two killers to take her and anyone she is with out. As if this is not bad enough, a psycho skip tracer (Robert Patrick) is also in hot pursuit and set on capturing the large reward on Denise. What follows is a mixture of the buddy comedy formula and road trip film which more than once reminded me of the recent “Due Date”. “Identity Thief” has a great premise and cast to it, but it is saddled by long stretches that drag on. The film takes a while to get started and never seems to find a pace that works for it.

McCarthy has some great lines and moments and Bateman does a solid job as the straight main foil. The problem is, the laughs are to few and far between to justify the nearly two hour run time. This is a shame as with about 30 minutes trimmed this could have been a very tight and witty comedy but instead under director Seth Gordon best efforts, the film never reaches its potential.

2.5 our of 5

Second Review by Christopher Daniels

One of 2013’s much anticipated comedies, Identity Thief, comes to us with Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy at the helm. This duo takes us on a wild ride of highly improbable but incredibly amusing antics. This film delivers the funny!

The situation begins with middle-income-father-of-2.5 Sandy Patterson (Bateman) getting a phone call from what he believes to be a fraud protection agency. It’s actually Diana (McCarthy), and she is heartlessly stealing his life and money.

Diana preys on Sandy because of his unisex name. She creates a new credit card with his information, as well as a fake ID to use around town. She goes on a shopping spree and then a wild night of binge drinking, buying beverages for everyone in the bar. Say hello to a $2200.00 bar tab! This incident is not just a financial problem for Sandy, as it directly affects his new job, and potentially could ruin his whole life.

Once it is discovered that Sandy is actually the victim of identity theft, the unhelpful Detective Reilly (Morris Chestnut) sends Sandy on an adventure to bring the thief back to Colorado for an admission of guilt.

The film is well shot and directed, with excellent acting and great writing. Overall, the film delivers a few great laughs, and a lot of good laughs. The comedic timing of Bateman and McCarthy works very well in tandem with the flow of the story.

Identity Thief is about 10-15 minutes longer than it needs to be, but all-in-all, you will be very entertained. I did find myself feeling very sorry for the main character, though. Identity theft is a very serious issue, and I question the manner in which they made light of it — but the film kept me chuckling nonetheless!

This movie has some very recognizable faces, from Jon Favreau and Amanda Peet to John Cho and T.I., not to mention Robert Patrick.

With strong sexual content (no nudity), and very strong language, this is not one for the youngins. But beyond that, it’s a great film

4 out of 5 Stars (for a comedy)

Editor: Jeff Boehm