Movie Review: Identity Thief [MA]

poster

Directors : Seth Gordon

Starring : Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Amanda Peet, Jon Favreau, T.I. , Eric Stonestreet, Morris Chestnut

Running Time : 111 minutes

Release Date :  In Cinemas Now

The premise of this movie is clear enough from the title. Put upon, mild-mannered, Denver business man Sandy Patterson (Bateman) receives a call from his credit card company confirming all his personal details. Of course, this is a scam and the oh so polite and helpful woman on the other end of the line in fact is a con artist (McCarthy) who promptly steals his identity and goes on a spending spree. The real Sandy Patterson is only alerted to the fraud when a beauty salon in Florida calls to confirm his appointment.

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Denver Sandy is eventually hauled in by the police and its transpires that, although this appears to be a case of identity theft, dealing with the situation and bringing the con artist Florida Sandy to justice may take a very long time. Due to recent changes in his career, Denver Sandy is desperate to have his name cleared as soon as possible. His good name and very livelihood depends on it. So he embarks on a trip to Florida to bring the fake Sandy to justice. And as they say……. hilarity ensues.

Denver Sandy quickly tracks down Florida Sandy and confronts her. She cracks Sandy with what is apparently her trademark karate-chop-type-hit-to-the-throat move and attempts to flee. She doesn’t get far and before we know it, we are embarking on a buddy movie with a twist with our hero and anti heroine.

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After a run in with some apparently very dangerous people that Florida Sandy is involved with, she reluctantly agrees to go along with Sandy’s plan to take her back to Denver so he can clear his good name. She basically has no choice but to get out-of-town fast and this is the prefect escape route. Of course, this road trip was never going to be easy or straightforward and the pair get into some interesting scrapes and situations as the journey progresses, including a sleazy hotel sex romp between Florida Sandy and a lonely, wealthy widow Big Chuck (Modern Family‘s Stonestreet).

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This movie has some very funny moments, one of the most memorable being a scene in a restaurant where Florida Sandy lets the female server believe her ‘ husband ‘ won’t let her eat. We see a myriad of manipulations at play here, all of which produce one of the movie’s finest moments. But alas, this movie also falls flat in many areas as well.

I was expecting a great deal from the hilarious and versatile McCarthy and I believe she delivers but she has been let down by a lack lustre script that relies on tired old physical jokes and gags to keep the momentum going. Bateman has to suffer through about ohhhh 3 too many jokes regarding his unisex name as well as from a lack of clear character direction. The same joke delivered in the same way half a dozen times within the first 20 minutes of a movie….. yeah somebody shoot the script writer please!

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But this movie also brings some heart. Right from the beginning, we are aware that Florida Sandy is filling a big hole in her life with the ‘stuff ‘ she buys and the friends she momentarily buys with her ill-begotten gains. This is a continuing thread throughout the movie and is quite engaging.  The relationship between the lead characters builds as well and they start to find a real connection. Yeah sure it is laid on too think towards the end but it is what it is.

McCarthy is a genius comedienne and Bateman is a solid leading man. I am a fan of both these actors. But as I mentioned before, they are let down by a ordinary script. There are moments in the movie where I felt if they had both been allowed to ad lib, things would have been vastly different. You can almost see it in their faces that they are holding something back. Maybe they too realised half way through production they were dealing with something less than great so they gave up. I don’t know.

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This is not a bad movie….. it’s just not a good movie either. I’m sitting on the movie reviewing fence and refusing to budge huh? That’s really annoying from a reviewer……I know it drives me insane. A review that’s enjoying a nice see-saw ride of ambiguity. ARGHHH!!! Pick a side Flick!! I know, I know. But seriously, I just can’t with this movie. This one, you will have to figure out on your own. Sorry….

I don’t know what’s worse………going to see a bad movie or going to see a movie that should be great and feeling let down and disappointed by the end result. Oh well, I will always have Bridesmaids and Arrested Development.

Love Flick xx

 

 

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