Identity Thief (2013)

Comedy, Crime
Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, John Cho, Amanda Peet
Mild-mannered businessman Sandy Patterson travels from Denver to Florida to confront the deceptively harmless-looking woman who has been living it up after stealing Sandy's identity.
Identity Thief's few laughs are attributable to Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, who labor mightily to create a framework for the movie's undisciplined plotline.
  • Universal Pictures Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 08 Feb 2013 Released:
  • 04 Jun 2013 DVD Release:
  • $134.5M Box office:

Trailer:

Identity Thief? More like Time Thief.1/10
This is the single worst movie I have seen since Mirrors. A horrible, laugh-less movie with no redeeming qualities. Not even Jason Bateman's usual charm or the cameos by Jon Favreau and Robert Patrick could save this van-wreck of a movie.

Melissa McCarthy's "Diana" was the single most unlikeable character in recent years. Unrelatable, unfunny, unworthy of an hour and a half of screen time. Suspending your disbelief is one thing, but "Identity Thief" requires something a little closer to a lobotomy. With an ending you couldn't miss if you were Helen Keller, there is nothing worth sticking around for. In fact, Helen Keller could've made a better slap- stick comedy than Seth Gordon.

It pains me to see Jason Bateman's name attached to such a horrible movie and I truly hope his next project fairs MUCH better. The worst thing is, "Identity Thief" has already made more money than much better films out there.

One hour and forty seven minutes of my life I will never get back.

I do not recommend this movie to anyone.
Identity Thief is a weak inconsistency that struggles to find an actual identity4/10
It is deliciously ironic that a movie called Identity Thief has a very tough time building an identity for itself to display to the audience. This movie is a total jumble and lacks enough structure to even attempt to become a decent movie. What saves this movie from being a total disaster are the lead actors which had been on a roll up to this point. For those expecting a deliciously dark follow-up to Horrible Bosses from that same director instead will walk away quite disenchanted and disappointed.

In a nutshell, stressed father and husband Sandy Patterson has his identity stolen resulting in him building up debt that's being accumulated by another person. Desperately in order to save his job and get his life back, he travels down to Florida to find the thief and convince her to return back to Colorado to get things straightened out. This plot is rather ridiculous, which is why it required a screwball or dark comedic taint to remove the absurdity of it all. Unfortunately, despite the trailers and television spots this barely is a dark comedy, and barely works as a comedy to be exact.

Identity Thief is sometimes funny, but never funny enough. It is sometimes dark and twisted, but never truly dark and twisted enough. It's even sometimes emotional and sentimental (very inconsistently I might add), but even that ship sails too soon far too often. Lastly it is sometimes interesting and suspenseful, but, well, you get the point. The intriguing and potentially hilarious premise of a disgruntled victim meeting his money-sucking predator was started by a Floridian teacher, but gets ruined by a bloated and underdeveloped script by Craig Mazin----whom doesn't really have a good repertoire. The mismatched directing of Seth Gordon didn't help either.

It is ultimately the cast that keeps it afloat, even when the script bogs them down. Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy work well together and did a great job despite the circumstances, particularly McCarthy. Then check out the rest of this underused staff: Eric Stonestreet, Robert Patrick, Amanda Peet, Genesis Rodriguez, Morris Chestnut, and John Cho. Plenty of good actors and each with the ability to breathe life into the project, but unfortunately just didn't have enough screen time to make an impact.

Bottom Line: Resembling a weak, watered-down useless version of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles instead of the likes of Horrible Bosses and the best of Danny DeVito, Identity Thief struggles to find the right focus and right footing and winds up becoming a movie that isn't funny enough, isn't dramatic enough, isn't wild enough, isn't likable enough, and generally isn't good enough to warrant a second viewing---or a first one. It's one thing to disappoint, but it's a totally different matter when you disappoint underneath so much potential and so much talent at the helm.
Absolute disappointment!3/10
Oh My God this movie was bad… So horrible… it hurt to sit through the first 20 minutes to get to the point. I felt I could review it due without ever bothering to digest the whole piece.

Despite the high profile comedic talent on hand, (Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy), the movie is so predictable that you can guess almost every nuance in it. If you wish to have your intelligence insulted for an hour and a half, this is for you.

The idiotic pranks the script calls for in the first half hour are so predictable, you laugh at the characters as they attempt to convince you they're going through the actual experience of identity theft. The lame attempt to profile a law enforcement agent's disdain for having to pursue an identity thief is akin to what the audience feels in their effort to connect with the characters. McCarty's character is so predictable we've seen it 100 times in Hollywood. Good person feels unloved, steals someone else's material goods to feel appreciated, throws party, is told no one cares and voila… they want to do right.

Hello, thanks for your complete lack of originality.

When you have comedic talent, you don't have to give them an 9th grader's high school play script to read. Give them some real material. McCarthy's character is so predictable you already hate her before you're invested into why she actually bother to steal Bateman's character's identity. By the time the movie reveals that McCarthy is a self-loathing, conceited, self deprecating individual who wants out of her predictable Drug/gang related troubles, you have no empathy for her character what-so-ever. In fact, you've already begun to detest her role as a leach.

Bateman is the only character worth investing in and perhaps that's because we still identify with him as one of the principles in Hancock, nearly the same character.

If I'm spending $8 to see a film it sure as heck isn't this one.

Give us a real script and less predictable jokes, less predictable outcomes and less predictable plot lines. Yes, the actors were funny, but everything else about this film suc&ed.

Save your $ go see something else.
Treat this film as if it was a car wreck with a police officer gesturing 'theres nothing to see here, just keep moving.'2/10
Director Seth Gordon's previous feature, "Horrible Bosses" (2012), wasn't anything special as a comedy despite its potential, but it contained a few clever moments to make it worthwhile. "Identity Thief" makes a fatal mistake when Gordon attempts to incorporate a dramatic element to the story line. By going in this direction, it is no longer possible to view "Identity Thief" as a compilation of marginal fat jokes, sex gags, and slapstick humor. Instead, we are forced to absorb a "serious" aspect that is so poorly rendered it's unbearable to watch. There are bad movies, and then there's "Identity Thief."

"Identity Thief" starts out as a comedy about a nice, clean-cut guy named Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman), who travels from the Colorado home he shares with his wife, Trish (Amanda Peet), and two daughters, to Florida. His goal: track down the woman who stole his identity, trashed his credit rating, and cost him his job. She's Diana (Melissa McCarthy), a fat, foul-mouthed dipstick who is freely spending as she adds to Sandy's debt. What transpires is a series of completely implausible situations that transforms "Identity Thief" into a mismatched buddy film. And that's when the wheel's come off completely. The film suffers from the classic complaint that the funniest moments were in the trailer, and even then it's nothing special. A strong contender for the Razzies, and for those unfamiliar, they acknowledge and award the worst movie of the year. Proceed with caution…….you've been warned.
Your credit card company is only a phone call away4/10
I have sympathy for Jason Bateman's Sandy Bigelow-Patterson for reasons other than he was victim to identity fraud. Being a male and having the name "Sandy" sets up a variety of jokes from socially childish people who have never seen a male with the unisex name of "Sandy." Had it not been for my sweet mother, I would've been "Michel Pulaski," rather than "Steven" because of my father's obsession with Canada and their hockey players and Quebec Nordiques-player Michel Goulet.

Other than that, that's about all the sympathy I have for the characters in Seth Gordon's Identity Thief. Overlong, underwritten, and tritely crafted, this is a perfect example of a comedy in the genre I call "maximum antics, minimum laughter." To qualify for the placement, you must subject a somewhat interesting premise to more grating physical schtick than the intelligently crafted kind, which centers around characters, wit, heart, substance, and wordplay.

As established, Bateman plays Sandy Bigelow-Patterson, a mild-mannered everyman, functioning aimlessly in the corporate world that leaves him stuck in the center of the ladder. He struggles not only with responsibility and a constant neglect in a pay raise, but with his wife (Amanda Peet) and two children, whose demands will soon become greater. The last thing Sandy needs is Diana (Melissa McCarthy), a portly, frantic, remorseless woman who targets Sandy as the latest victim in her ongoing credit card fraud scheme by obtaining his information via prank call, making him believe his credit card account is in jeopardy. It is when him and a number of his coworkers ditch their dead-end jobs and begin working at a company created by one of the ex-employees (John Cho) does Sandy feel his life is on the up-and-up.

Sandy is soon arrested for failing to appear at a court hearing for Diana, and this is when he discovers he is a victim of an identity theft. Because the law enforcement of Denver has a cockamamie list of rules they adhere to, not arresting or even researching Diana's records since she lives in Winter Park, Florida, Sandy decides to take matters into his own hands by going down to Florida to nab Diana and get her to confess to law enforcement and to his boss to remain secure in his life again. He assumes that because of Diana's pudgy nature, she'll be an easy catch, until he finds that she's a violent, dangerous menace that is almost frighteningly haunted and mentally off balance. Not only that, but both are being pursued by a witless debt collector and two other assassins that want both dead for the crimes they've committed or allegedly committed.

What ensues is a predictable, uneven road comedy between the two, with two actors swimming in potential, but wasting it in a comedy of tired errors. Jason Bateman can play straight characters in obscure worlds in a beautiful way (see Extract for reference), and Melissa McCarthy showed that being gross can be funny in Judd Apatow's Bridesmaids. Both of their schticks begin to show signs of wear as Identity Thief haplessly approaches the hour mark and many laugh-inducing situations have been proposed but none of them fully exercising them.

Gordon's previous film was Four Christmases, a film that wasn't as mawkish and oversentimentalized as it could've been. While it still accentuated a rather negative relation to the holiday of Christmas and was part of the genre I just spoke of, it still kept its premise concise and did not overcompensate its material to a ghastly overlong length. Identity Thief does the opposite. Its unnecessary sequences involving overweight people having intercourse and public humiliation are got from the drearily immature cloth I'm growing ever-so fond of laying in when I watch comedies.

Yet the film really drops the ball when it attempts to make Diana a character we're supposed to feel bad for after all her menace, violent nature, unjustifiable cruelty, and not to mention, her willingness to commit crimes of sheer carelessness. She is so loathsome that it isn't that her dramatic instances where her character receives humanization fall flat, but it's that she's proved herself to be such a smug, arrogant, astronomically mean-spirited character that it's like trying to accept a friend back after he's taken advantage of you numerous times. You feel cheated, used, and now, foolish to consider accepting them back into your life.

Identity Thief unfortunately subjects its leads into joyless, gimmicky physical schtick, frequent car chases, and sorely unfunny scenes that evoke the least common denominator of juvenile humor. It may not be as unabashedly quirky as some other comedic efforts I've seen this year, but regarding the cast, the material, and the ability of the director to create a comfortable, unobtrusive atmosphere, this endeavor should've much, much funnier.

Starring: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Amanda Peet, and John Cho. Directed by: Seth Gordon.