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4/3/13

IDENTITY THIEF - REVIEW


Well it looks like the old uptight person/large person road trip comedy genre still has some mileage on it!

With Due Date and now Identity Thief, it's looking like John Hughes' classic Planes, Trains And Automobiles might have been more influential than we originally thought.

And for years I thought Tommy Boy would be the last word on that genre...

This time around we've got Jason Bateman playing a normal boring dude with a normal boring office job (fancy that!) who gets his identity stolen by a loud, obnoxious, manipulative Melissa McCarthy. To keep his new job, Bateman decides to travel to Miami to somehow find his sworn enemy and bring her back to his state to get arrested. Of course, this already not very good-sounding plan turns out to go really wrong. For one thing, the identity thief in question keeps punching people in the neck, she's hunted by criminals for some reason and is generally a nightmare to be around. To sum up: she makes John Candy in that old movie look like a teddy bear.

The cast also includes Amanda Peet (who gets all the corniest scenes, of course), John Cho, Jon Favreau (only around for one scene, weirdly) and Robert Patrick (kinda awesome).

The good thing about this movie is that it did deliver what I was hoping it would: unmotivated cartoon violence and a good share of random lines. You've got some fun scenes involving Bateman hitting McCarthy with various household appliances, getting hammered with fiery torches and attacked by snakes, nutty car chases and McCarthy talking a lot of nonsense and giving away a little bit too much information about herself. That stuff mostly works, I'll admit, though some moments will leave you feeling more uncomfortable than amused. About halfway through, the movie attempts to include some heart to the proceedings but that proves too little too late though parts of that do work also. The whole criminals subplot, however, feels tacked-on and is in fact completely unnecessary. It made sense in Dumb & Dumber but here it just comes off as clumsy.

Not much more to say, really: sometimes funny, sometimes not, sometimes crude, sometimes sweet, I guess Identity Thief has something for everyone willing to sit through that kind of comedy but as a whole it's a little all over the place and will probably not satisfy more critical viewers. That said, if you're looking for an enjoyable-enough, dumb, light-hearted flick for a Friday night, you could do a lot worse.

So-so.

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