It was only a matter of time before Melissa McCarthy, who earned an Oscar nomination for her comedic performance in Bridesmaids and shot to instant fame, started releasing films that essentially recreate the same character that made her a household name. Identity Thief is the first of three comedies McCarthy has hitting screens in 2013 that will showcase the same role until years' end when we will be begging her to do something different. Identity Thief is directed by Seth Gordon, who delivered the raunchy Horrible Bosses (also starring Bateman, who is also a repeat offender of the stereotypical performance) but in this case, landing on the side of an “R” was the right choice.

Straight-laced, hardworking family man Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Bateman) has found himself the victim of  identity theft. At first the financial consultant is arrested and then the police explain to him that a woman in Florida also going by the name of Sandy Patterson is using his identity and committing crimes. With his job now on the line and the future of his family hanging in the balance, the police in Denver say the only way to quickly rectify the situation is if Patterson brings this thief back to Denver. With virtually no money Patterson heads down to Florida, but is completely unprepared for what awaits.

This script has a lot of issues that stood in the way of me finding this funny as a whole. Small things that could have been omitted for authenticity sake are included, like a merchant cutting up a declined credit card (that’s actually a crime to do that, as the card is property of the bank and the owner), or a woman being hit by a speeding car and only getting a bloody nose. Identity Thief goes for quick and forgettable laughs that amount to wasted screen time. “It’s our only option,” Patterson says to his wife about traveling to Florida to kidnap and drug this woman and bring her back. With him being in the financial sector of work, he A: should never have given out personal information on the phone, B: should notify his bank about the outrageous and unauthorized charges, C: the police in both Colorado and Florida would have been much more helpful than portrayed in this film.

The funniest part of the film for me was when Bates smashes a guitar in McCarthy’s face as she tries to escape. While a generalized crowd is going to laugh at this film because they want to, most of the gags, including physical comedy (McCarthy ends up falling to the ground a total of five times), repugnant innuendo and fat jokes, were all more clever in Bridesmaids. The poorly constructed subplot involving two separate parties wanting to abduct McCarthy’s character was a distraction from the story, making this film run longer than necessary.  

Final Thought – Opts for ridiculous and outrageous far more often than witty and funny.  

Grade C       By: Dustin Chase

Dr. Donna Copeland’s


 Identity Thief is a Don’t See for the following reasons:  

It is yet another film that makes light of breaking the law and getting laughs for it.  In this case, the filmmakers make sure we know that the person the Jason Bateman character was ripping off is a scumbag; the problem is, what he does is still breaking the law.  The same treatment is given to the Melissa McCarthy character; by the end they want us to weep for her and excuse her because she’s had such a hard life, and oh, by the way, isn’t she funny?

 The story is so completely absurd, I began to check out early on.  There is no way a rational individual would take out across country with the idea of bringing a thief to justice.  Nor would the police allow it; that is why we have policemen.  Duh!  And of course, the film includes phenomenal escapes from being shot at and arrested on the incredible road trip from Florida to Denver while being chased by two criminals and a bounty hunter.  

 The jokes are not all that funny and are repeated over and over:  McCarthy as Diana throwing the punches, falling flat on her face, and throwing up in other people’s faces; Bateman as Sandy being the chump and always a step behind, being bested by a woman physically and mentally over and over…How are these things funny?

 The drawback of the film is primarily the script by Craig Mazen and Jerry Eeten; Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, and Robert Patrick are generally fine actors.  They just don’t have much to go on here.  My sympathy is for Melissa McCarthy, who will likely only play the “fat” stereotype roles of loveable, clumsy, punchy, and sassy women.  Unless she fights for something else, which I hope she does.  

Grade:  C-