Sorry for taking the week off from writing but I'm now back with my Identity Thief review! I'm a huge Arrested Development fan and Jason Bateman is one of the more underrated comedic actors out there. Especially coming off of filming Arrested Devlopment season 4, Bateman has a chance to be in rare form. There's a problem with all this though. Ever since Melissa McCarthy blew up for her role in Bridesmaids people mistake her for being able to be funny in a leading role. This movie should serve as notice that, first off, Craig Mazin should stop writing scripts. Also that McCarthy really isn't good in a leading role because she can't make a bad script decent.
Identity Thief follows the story of Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman), a very good accountant, who mistakenly gives his personal info out to Diana (Melissa McCarthy). She is impersonating an identity theft line operator. Diana proceeds to use his information to print out credit cards and a driver's license and steals Sandy's identity. While all this is happening Sandy and his co-worker Daniel Chasey (John Cho) are starting their own company. On his first day of work at his new job, a detective assigned to Sandy's case comes to inform him that he thinks Sandy is in possession of drugs at the office. Out of distress, Sandy comes up with an idea to save his life and job. Sandy is going to travel to Florida, with his wife Trish's (Amanda Peet) blessing, to retrieve Diana and bring her back to Colorado. This proves to be a chore has Diana has a duo of drug dealers and a bounty hunter chasing them. The worst road-trip of Sandy's life is about to take place.
There is nothing much redeeming about Identity Thief in my opinion. While I want to write a full review like normally do for a current release, it's hard for me to find anything I like about this highly disappointing movie. I also find it completely mind numbing that this was the number one comedy (and movie overall I believe) in the country for awhile. The bad starts with the writing in this one. 99 percent of the time Craig Mazin and Jerry Eeten's story and script are just painfully unfunny. Sometimes actors can make-up for it with performances, but you have an actress (McCarthy) who is weak in her first leading role. Combine that with experience (Bateman) that needs a great compliment to be truly good. Seth Gordon is usually a pretty good judge on picking things to direct. He's done episodes of Modern Family, Community, The Office and Parks And Recreation combine that with Horrible Bosses which might be 2011s best comedy. Gordon is no stranger to good, so it bugs me that he would pick-up a bad one like this. The directing isn't bad, but with everything else lacking, it just brings the whole quality of the movie, no matter how well it looks, down.
The acting is also forgettable. I went back to look at the cast and I forgot John Cho, Eric Stonestreet and John Favreau were even in the movie at all. As I said in the open, ever since Bridesmaids Melissa McCarthy has blown up. But in her first big comedy lead she falls flat. Part of that is the writing sure, but she just felt cookie-cutter to me. Nothing about her character or the way she played her was funny at all. The same can be said for Jason Bateman. With all the good he's been up to lately, I don't understand what he saw in this to make him take the job. Amada Peet is cute, sure, but adds nothing. TI is in here and he's stuffed in a trunk by Robert Patrick, so who cares about either of them. It's just a bunch of great, good and no reason to be here actors, putting on completely forgettable performances. This ties in with the characters, because none of them are worth the time to try to invest into, aside from Sandy. While the other lead in Diana is just a highly unlikable entity on the screen for almost two hours. A LONG two hours as this movie is a chore to watch as it's entirely made up of bad story and non-comedy. The only time I remotely smiled is because they has Sandy defend his name being uni-sex.
As if you couldn't tell yet, Identity Thief was a complete bomb to me. I don't want to keep harping on it either. There's a ton of funny potential between the actors and the director that just turns into a complete mess. I hardly laughed throughout this nearly two hour movie. I might have not laughed out loud once. That's a terrible sign while watching a comedy. I love Jason Bateman, I like Seth Gordon and Melissa McCarthy can be quite funny. This combo just didn't pan out due to horrendous writing. While blames goes all around, Craig Mazin and Jerry Eeten should shoulder the blame for this awful movie.