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Identity Thief - Review

Identity Thief

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

MELISSA McCarthy captured a lot of people’s hearts with her spunky turn in Bridesmaids but she tests their patience with new comedy, Identity Thief.

Directed by Seth Gordon (of Horrible Bosses fame) and co-starring Jason Bateman, this is a largely obnoxious vehicle that annoys on its own terms while also stealing from the make-up of at least two other movies (Planes, Trains & Automobiles and Midnight Run).

In trying to be edgy and in the moment (the film is also set against the backdrop of the economic recession) it only feels more insulting when it eventually runs out of risk and opts for standard Hollywood convention.

The plot follows endearing everyman Sandy (Bateman) as he discovers his identity has been stolen just as he quits his under-appreciated job to help set up a rival firm and is expecting his third kid.

After being informed there is very little the police can do unless he can bring the thief back home to Denver, Sandy heads to Florida to entrap ‘Sandy’ (McCarthy), the larger-than-life chancer who is threatening to cost him everything.

But bringing her back proves more difficult than it seems, particularly as she also has two contract killers (TI and Genesis Rodriguez) and a bounty hunter (Robert Patrick) on her trail.

To be fair, Gordon’s film isn’t a complete write-off. Bateman is always watchable, there’s one or two decent exchanges between him and McCarthy and the odd snigger inducing mishap. McCarthy, too, gets one genuinely dramatic moment to extend her range, which she grabs with aplomb.

But therein lies another of the film’s big problems – it’s halfway point decision to try and make audiences sympathise with a character who, by rights, doesn’t really deserve the time of day.

In doing so, it kind of reduces the frustrations of Bateman’s character and trivialises a crime that is all too real, especially in the way it targets real-life, struggling victims.

But this is only a comedy I hear you say! True… but with mean-spirited jokes that barely tickle the funny bone, a host of starry support and cameos who are largely wasted and the near-constant feeling that you’ve seen this kind of thing done better before, it’s harder to forgive Identity Thief its many sins.

At close to two hours as well, it’s also a very tedious experience to be conned by.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 111mins
UK Release Date: March 22, 2013