Don't let this 'Thief' steal two hours of your time
In “Identity Thief,” Melissa McCarthy gets smacked in the face with a frying pan, conked on the head with a toaster, run over by a car and suffers a hundred other bits of violent slapstick, and you laugh almost every time. Then the moment passes, and the movie reverts to crummy.
McCarthy is an immensely likable screen presence who is fearless at making herself look ridiculous, and the combination of her girth and surprising agility recall “Animal House”-era John Belushi.
Unfortunately, no matter how hard McCarthy tries, “Identity Thief” remains an unsalvageable wreck.
She plays Diana, a loud and gregarious woman who looks like a super-sized Raggedy Ann doll, with her shock of long red hair and flair for eyeball-searing ensembles. Diana is a computer-savvy con artist who tricks people into giving her their Social Security numbers and birth dates, then cranks out fake credit cards and goes on costly shopping sprees. But she picks the wrong target when she goes after Sandy (Jason Bateman), a husband and father of two kids with another on the way who has just gotten a promotion when the police show up accusing him of credit fraud.
“Identity Thief” was directed by Seth Gordon (“Horrible Bosses,” “Four Christmases”)
Sandy, who lives in Denver, heads out on a road trip to Florida, where Diana lives, to track her down and somehow bring her back to Colorado so he can clear his name.
Bateman is a talented actor who has fallen into the Ben Stiller trap of playing the same character in every movie: The ordinary guy with extraordinarily bad luck who serves as straight man to his wild co-stars. “Identity Thief” is a road comedy, which means there are lots of car chases and crashes. There are hit men and bounty hunters — only because the two lead characters aren't enough to warrant almost two hours of screen time on their own?
Most unforgivable of all “Identity Thief's” sins, though, is the dreaded third-act veer into sentimentality, with tearful confessions and heartwarming revelations and Diana's transformation from ugly duckling into a beautiful swan. McCarthy tries her best to sell the poignancy, but her talent only makes it worse, because you start feeling sorry for her character, and “Identity Thief” apparently forgets it was supposed to be a comedy.
Rene Rodriguez reviews movies for The Miami Herald.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh group keeps alive Laurel & Hardy’s legacy
- Ewan McGregor to direct film in Western Pa.
- Review: ‘Little Boy’ bites off more faith-based lessons than it can chew
- Review: ‘Adaline’ is a love story for the ages
- Review: ‘Ex Machina’ puts the fear of God into us about machines
- Review: ‘Merchants’ part of rising tide of climate-change debate