REVIEW: Identity Thief

"Good, but could have been much better."

A mild mannered accountant must undertake a very different vacation to Florida as he pursues an outrageous woman who's stolen his identity and as a result, has had him served up to the police.  Bringing her back is the only to clear his name, but he soon realizes this is easier said than done.

It's nice to have something to look forward to, theatrically, in the cold, glum months of January and February considering these are generally the months where Hollywood is slumming.  And as for me, I love a good comedy, so upon viewing the trailer for IDENTITY THIEF, I thought I'd found something to look forward to--THIS IS 40, however, was a nice surprise in the laugh the department.  Although this wasn't exactly terrible, it feels like a complete rehash of DUE DATE in tone and style, swapping out McCarthy for Galifianakis as well as a couple plot ideas.  In the end, it's pretty much the same movie.

I think Jason Bateman is awesome, I truly do.  His persona and comedic tone are "take it or leave it" as most comedians are these days, but he always manages to get you on his side by being a likable character.  Melissa McCarthy is an altogether different story.  I didn't care for BRIDESMAIDS and feel it was undeserving of all the hype it mustered.  I didn't find McCarthy's character likable or entertaining there, but she was hilarious in THIS IS 40.  That said, the trailer for THE HEAT came out shortly after IDENTITY THIEF and clearly showed me that McCarthy's crass over-the-top act no doubt has an expiry date.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy this type of humor, but after awhile is does get old.

All this aside, the story is rather useless.  From taking a serious crime that's sweeping the nation and poking fun at it, to giving us little to no hope in the law.  I mean seriously, is this really police protocol?  You have a picture of a known felon stealing a man's identity and you just do nothing?  Where's Dog the bounty hunter when you need him?  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for him going after her, but I'd have simplified the situation to handcuffs and a taser.  The plan would go as follows:  Find her, get close, taser her in the face, cuff her, throw her in the drunk, open a Red Bull and start the journey home.  There's no entertainment value there movie-wise, but it's a solid plan.  As for the thugs she's angered along the way?  Let her take a bullet or two, she seems resilient enough and the cops didn't say they needed her alive.

IDENTITY THIEF was disappointing, but I wasn't expecting much going in.  This flick screamed "all the best parts were jammed into the trailer", so my expectations were low.  I was hoping to be surprised, but that simply didn't happen.  Both Bateman and McCarthy worked well off one another in a way, but after seeing the trailer so many times, watching him get punched in the throat and seeing her thrown around like a ragdoll didn't stretch as far as I hoped it would.  Some people are comparing McCarthy's work to the late Chris Farley, which I agree with as much as I disagree with.  I agree on the side of her antics matching his, and because of this, as I mentioned before, her routine will get old just as Farley's did (TOMMY BOY was the performance he never could top or duplicate).  However, I disagree because no matter the role, or how utterly stupid it may have come across, Farley was a lovable teddy bear you just wanted to squeeze.  I find McCarthy's characters entertaining (for the moment), but they're far from likeable and this could play a deciding role in her long-term appeal. 

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