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Review: Identity Thief

Universal Pictures: Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy in "Identity Thief"Stealing one’s identity happens everyday to an uncountable amount of unsuspecting victims around the world by people from around the world. In many of these instances, the culprit behind this thieving behavior is never held responsible and walks away scot-free while remaining anonymous to all. With all of the techniques catching an identity thief is understandably difficult in most situations, but sometimes they can be apprehended or identified at the very least.

In the comedy, Identity Thief, Melissa McCarthy plays a woman who’s made a life out of stealing the identities of a large number of people. The lavish lifestyle that he’s her party like a rock star sees her take from several victims who have can’t do much about it and know next to nothing about her. It’s something that she’s done for a number of years, and she doesn’t have any intentions of stopping anytime in the near future. With the results from all of this, it’s easy to see why she continues to ruin the credit scores and bank accounts of so many.

Her latest target is Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Jason Bateman), a straight-laced company man who lives in Denver, Colorado. By day, Patterson is an account processor who wishes he made more money and is fed up with Harold Cornish (Jon Favreau), his disrespectful and arrogant boss. After his work day, Sandy is nothing less than a devout family man who’s raising his kids with his wife Trish Patterson (Amanda Peete), with hopes of a bright future for them. Managing his money certainly should come easy for him, but that’s all about to change.

Patterson’s life is turned upside down when unbeknownst to him, his money all of a sudden disappears and everything he’s worked for is destroyed. All he knows is that, he’s getting these insane charges thrown at him that appear to be coming out Florida. When he’s questioned by the cops, he makes it clear to them that he’s never even been to Florida and that something must be up. Fortunately for him, the police believe his story, but their isn’t much they can do about it since the crimes are likely occurring outside of Colorado and in Florida.

Desperate to get his life back, his reputation restored and the future bright for his children, Sandy Patterson decides that he wants to take a chance and go to Florida to find the culprit behind his recent struggles. If he can find the person behind it and manage to bring her back to Colorado, that’s exactly what will happen for him if he’s successful.

After going down to Florida, he finds the woman he wants to take down fairly quickly. While finding her was easy, getting her to Colorado won’t be. Patterson does whatever it is that he can to bring her back with him, but he’s met with quite a bit of resistance in the early going. I’m sure the usually mild-mannered business man anticipated that, but he knew from the start that bringing her in was his only option.

Once he explains the problems that her illegal actions are causing, the person who’s spent most of her life as an identity thief reluctantly chooses to travel with him and assist him in restoring his life back to normal. This is going as well as he would, but he needs to realize that he isn’t the only enemy that she’s made during this run of law-breaking. She also has Julian (Tip T.I.” Harris) and Marisol (Genesis Rodriguez) on her back with designs on taking her down. These two are violent criminals who wish to resolve their issues her with her potentially laying in a body bag as a final result, due to a business deal gone bad.

All in all, this road trip goes from bad to worse as the two traveling buddies run into a large number of undesirable situations involving criminals, a gritty bounty hunter (Robert Patrick), dead hobos, law enforcement and a little bit of booze. Nonetheless, their goal remains the same throughout all of it. If they stay the course, Patterson will get his name back and the person that ruined his life may be able to learn something from her life choices. Whether she learns them on the road or behind bars, she’ll probably just be thankful to get out of Florida if she gets away with her life.

Since Identity Thief is an adult comedy coming out of the United States of America in this day and age, you should already know what to expect before sitting down to watch it. I mean, they try a few different things, but you won’t be caught off guard or disgusted if you’re into this kind of stuff. I’m sure that for me and many others, watching comedies done in this style is not a problem. With that being said, I’m sure all of us who don’t mind watching would love for it to be funny.

The issues with Identity Thief primarily stem from the fact that it’s not really very funny at all. The majority of the jokes are simply lame and plenty of them seem to be from the mind of someone who wants to attract the teenage crowd. That’s kind of odd coming from an R rated movie with a somewhat graphic sex scene in it, but that’s exactly how many of these jokes come across.

It’s actually pretty sophomoric is the least bit noteworthy and the chances of it leaving any type of a mark on Hollywood or in anyone’s memory banks are slim to none. I can’t sit here and say that Identity Thief is an out-and-out terrible movie. The truth is, it just doesn’t truly deliver on what your normal fans of comedy over the age of 18 would want to see. You take out most of the profanity, the semi-graphic sex scene and maybe a couple of other things, and you’ve got yourself a decent PG-13 movie that a few teens might like.

I wanted to laugh at the comedy that’s being displayed in this movie, but I didn’t find much to laugh at. I did find that the parts where the two leads are building somewhat of a unique friendship at least decent at times. Other than that, there isn’t much else to speak on when taking a look back at Identity Thief. Maybe there is, but this movie went in one ear and out of the other for me. Is it wrong to actually think of that as a good thing? Not in this instance.

When you look at the plot in this movie, I think that there’s a good film potentially lying around there somewhere. The premise is nice, but it just seems hard to make a comedy with flat jokes seem interesting or entertaining. For the most part, you have a whole lot of likeable characters with some of them taking this time to learn about certain aspects of life. Other than that, the only I like about Identity Thief is the fact that the lovely Genesis Rodriguez gets some much-needed face time. For her sake, she better start doing some better movies though.

Score: 2.5/5

Rating: R

Director: Seth Gordon

Jason Bateman
Melissa McCarthy
Amanda Peet
John Cho
Tip “T.I” Harris
Genesis Rodriguez
Robert Patrick
Jon Favreau
Morris Chestnut

Film Length: 108 minutes

Release Date: February 8, 2013

Distributor: Universal Pictures

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