Identity Thief

23 Feb


Synopsis: “Mild-mannered businessman Sandy Patterson travels from Denver to Miami to confront the deceptively harmless-looking woman who has been living it up after stealing Sandy’s identity.” (Rated R; 1 hour 51 minutes)

The Oscars are upon us! Today I will be watching the 2013 Academy Awards, rooting on many of the movies I loved this year, but first I went to see another conventional studio comedy that offers nothing original, but amused me nonetheless.

There’s no questions that this movie has been done so much better before. In Midnight Run Charles Grodin manages to get under Robert De Niro’s skin, but also makes you laugh throughout the movie at the clever dialogue and interplay between them. As with Identity Thief, it is a movie about a criminal being taken captive by the protagonist, and watching their hi-jinks and inevitable and “unlikely” friendship. Planes, Trains & Automobiles is a brilliant comedy about two people having a road trip much to the frustration of of one of them. It simply works as not only a comedy, but some of the most sad and heartwarming moments of any comedy I can remember. (I still miss John Candy!) These movies work as really great character driven comedies where wacky things happen to them throughout.

The problem with Identity Thief is that I simply never stopped to give a damn about the characters. Watching this movie it was simply about the crazy and unbelievable things that would happen to them, but never was there any of the same underlying element that made those other two movies special. I wouldn’t mind if a movie was just about the goofy plot, except none of it was particularly clever, memorable or surprising. I didn’t laugh out loud much, but I was certainly enjoying watching it as a fun, bland, amusing, unsurprising road-trip movie.

I do have to admit, I’m a big fan of Jason Bateman in just about everything he does. He ranges from characters who are funny assholes to his more frequent role as a nice sap, and I love watching him play those characters with all of their sarcastic charm. He’s no small part of what makes Arrested Development one of the funniest shows in television history, and anything he’s in is simply better for having him in it, much like Paul Rudd. (Although I will say that Paul Rudd seems to have more of a range of characters in the nice guy through asshole repertoire.) This movie was no exception, I still liked it all the more because he was the main character. I didn’t feel the same way about Melissa McCarthy though. I admit I thought she was the funniest part of Bridesmaids, but less is more sometimes, and I believe that her over-the-top insane character in this movie just got exhausting quickly, and I was ready for her to get arrested and thus solve the problems of Jason Bateman’s character. In fact she got so grating, and her crimes were so bad as an identity thief, that it started to annoy me when the movie was getting close to the end and she started to grow on his character. I wanted to scream out to at the movie, “she ruined your entire family’s life, if you forgive her at the end of this movie I’m going to smack you through the movie screen!” As always I won’t say what happens, but I will say that when she has her “moment of truth” where you’re supposed to feel for her, I just rolled my eyes and realized that it didn’t work. It wanted it so badly to be the scene where you realize how lonely John Candy is in Planes, Trains & Automobiles, and both Steve Martin and the audience feels terrible for him; but it simply wasn’t that movie, and I didn’t give a damn about her and was ready to move onto the next silly scene.

I looked it up later and found that Seth Gordon also directed Horrible Bosses, another Jason Bateman comedy, but a much funnier one on every level. I remember laughing out loud for so much of that flick, as it simply had more of an edge, and much more originality. This one will amuse most most of us movie-lovers, I just wish I could say there was anything you’d actually remember the next day.

The movie was better than The Bounty Hunter, a pretty lousy comedy where Gerard Butler arrests Jennifer Aniston, and craziness ensues which is even less funny or likable than this one. As I explained earlier though, it was obviously far less good of a movie than Midnight Run.

Quality Rating: C+ (Straight down the middle for being average in every way)

Boaz Rating: B (Slightly extra given since it seems I enjoy anything Jason Bateman does)


3 Responses to “Identity Thief”

  1. Ephraim Osgood February 25, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    The fact that Horrible Bosses was compared as a better sample of the Directors work. How this review manages a 7 on the Boaz meter is beyond me. It doesn’t sound like you enjoyed it very much.


    • boazconstrictor February 25, 2013 at 10:26 am #

      Yes I absolutely liked Horrible Bosses, found that movie quite funny. This one my point was that most people including myself will and do enjoy it. But I’m disappointed nothing was more original and that I didn’t laugh out loud much at all (then again I’m actually a tougher person to make laugh in comedies than I am to make cry in sad movies). A 7 in the Boaz meter is very very average even in that meter, and applies to movies I think were enjoyable for me but could have been much much moreso. And I did clarify that it was helped immensely by Jason Bateman who I simply enjoy watching in everything.



  1. The Call (“My rant about previews”) | Boaz's Movie Obsession - March 28, 2013

    […] Morris Chestnut simply takes over the same boring role as a cop that he just played in the comedy Identity Thief. The bad guy though – played by Michael Eklund – was VERY creepy, in a super-tormented […]


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