Identity Thief: stealing the show, or stealing your money?
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 17, 2013 19:02
Like any comedy, Identity Thief seeks to draw laughs from the audience. The trick in executing this successfully is by providing viewers with an engaging story line. Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses) is everyday family man named Sandy Bigelow Patterson.
Sandy’s identity is stolen by Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), an exuberant woman named Diana, who has made identity theft an obsession. Sandy is happily married and the father of two—soon to be three—daughters when he makes this shocking discovery. When Sandy is told an arrest is unlikely, he puts his life on hold in order to catch the thief and mend the situation before his world crumbles beneath him. Upon finding her in Florida, he tries to lure, deceive, and force her to travel, with him, back to his home in Denver, Colorado.
Along the way, the two of them encounter a myriad of trials and tribulations defending themselves against unlikely foes. This road trip back to Denver results in multiple days worth of bonding time for Sandy and Diana, which allows Sandy to view the reckless villain in a more condoling light.
Movie: Identity Thief (2013)
- Director: Seth Gordon, Studio: Universal Pictures, Rated R, running time 112 minutes
- Reviewer's grade: C+
While it is masked under many attempts at comedy, most of which are successful, there is an underlying theme to this movie that is revealed towards the end of the film when Diana undergoes changes that depict her as a dynamic character.
This change happens with a twist, when Diana exposes her true character and takes an unexpected action. Overall, the message that Identity Thief gives is that you do not truly know a person until you know and understand his or her background, circumstances, and intentions.
Despite having a theme with serious meaning, Identity Thief accepted and embraced its role as a comedy by not allowing for too much seriousness. Whenever there was a moment that drew emotions from the audience such as sympathy, sadness, or worry, the moment was broken by an unexpectedly comical line. For instance, Sandy and Diana are in an intense physical brawl in the middle of Diana’s house, and Sandy seemingly knocks her out by smashing her in the face with a guitar. Diana then sits up and says “I love that guitar, I’m gonna sue you.” Later on, the two are involved in a dangerous car chase that throws them way off course. When they narrowly evade the situation, their only means of transportation is decimated by a semi truck.
As the viewers’ hearts begin to drop with, Diana again interrupts the moment of hopelessness by saying “oh you should have put your hazards on,” which clearly would have made no difference. These lines allow for comedic relief in the midst of intense or uneasy moments that have the audience on edge.
These moments however, leave the audience with conflicting emotions, and they do not know whether to laugh at the funny lines or feel sorry for Sandy in his terrible situation. This seemed to somewhat diminish the comedic value that the production could have had. On the other hand, they used Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy very well by playing them to their strengths. McCarthy is known and loved for her role in Bridesmaids, where she played an awkwardly spontaneous, lively individual, and once again she captured this role.
On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, Bateman played his usual role as a straight edged, very average man. The two complemented each other nicely, creating a multitude of awkward moments over the course of the road trip. It also helped get across the message by showing the two polar opposites forced to endure each other. Because of this, Identity Thief gets a C+ rating. It is a slightly above average comedy that leaves viewers with possible conflicting feelings yet effectively capitalizes on how well the budding stars compliment each other.
Rather than pay to see the movie on the big screen, people should wait for it to come out on video, as it will translate well to home viewing.