movie film review | chris tookey

Identity Thief

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  Identity Thief Review
Tookey's Rating
1 /10
Average Rating
3.08 /10
Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy , John Cho
Full Cast >

Directed by: Seth Gordon
Written by: Craig Mazin

Released: 2013
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 107

Fake comedy.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Identity Thief starts off moronic and then goes downhill. It is laugh-free junk for about eighty minutes. Then it abruptly turns sentimental for the final half-hour, when were supposed to start taking idiotic characters really seriously, and commend them for warming the cockles of our collective heart.

The premise is ridiculous, without being funny. Our hero, Sandy Patterson (Justin Bateman, pictured right) stupidly gives away enough personal information over the phone for a con artist (Melissa McCarthy, pictured left, the fat, aggressive loudmouth from Bridesmaids) to steal his identity.

Why is this improbable? Because Sandy works in finance, as the accounts processor for a huge investment firm. In other words, hes exactly the kind of person who would not fall for a scam as transparent as this.

The implausibilities multiply as his credit cards are maxed out. Amazingly, he receives no help from his credit card companies or the police, and his employer tells him hes fired if he doesnt personally bring the thief from Florida to Colorado within a week. The investigating cop (an embarrassed-looking Maurice Chestnut) agrees that our hero should turn vigilante, kidnap her and transport her across state borders, which must be the worst legal advice Ive ever seen in a feature film.

Anyone who has seen a road movie will guess what comes next. Sandy meets the thief, a boorish, vulgar career-criminal with appalling taste and no trace of a scruple. Inexplicably, she agrees to drive to Colorado with him, and even more implausibly they bond. You see, she had a deprived childhood and is terribly, terribly lonely. Cue a massive and totally unbelievable character change in the final act.

Were expected to swallow the films thesis, which is that he is the one with most to learn, for his terrible fault is wait for it - being judgmental! This weird example of La-la-land liberalism was the only notion in the movie that made me laugh, but I dont think it was meant to.

As in Adam Sandler movies, most of the so-called humour is ugly violence. One running gag has the heroine punching male victims in the throat; this is meant to be hilarious, even though its potentially fatal. Projectile vomiting is, needless to say, laugh-out-loud funny, as is nauseatingly foul language and the leading lady having casual, adulterous sex in a crummy motel with an equally overweight cowboy.

Everyone involved seems to have taste failure and galloping stupidity, made worse by attention deficit disorder. One moment, our hero is bitten by a poisonous snake and rendered unconscious; the next, he wakes up after no medical treatment, with no ill effects. Hes a miracle of medical science. He never thinks of asking our heroine why she didnt take him to hospital, or at least a doctor.

Similarly, the extreme obesity of the leading lady is exaggerated one moment, forgotten the next. She runs a couple of yards and is out of breath. A few hours later, she is able to carry our hero half a mile or more. None of it makes sense.

This witless trash was written by one Craig Mazin, whose previous offences against humanity include Scary Movie 3, Superhero Movie and The Hangover Part II. It is directed without the slightest element of comic timing by Seth Gordon, who gave us the equally obnoxious Four Christmases.

Road movies with foes turning into buddies can be enjoyable. The late eighties produced Something Wild, Planes Trains and Automobiles and Midnight Run. Recently, however, with the coarsening of Hollywood comedy weve been lumbered with such malodorous turkeys as Due Date, The Bounty Hunter and now this.

Identity Thief is lazy, reprehensible and an all-time low for everyone involved, except of course the writer of The Hangover part II.

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