February 10, 2013

Identity Thief

There's nothing particularly original about Identity Thief, and the credibility of the plot--not to mention much of the action--is slim at best, but it's fun watching Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy in a road trip-buddy movie in which she plays a white-trash ne'er-do-well who's been racking up thousands of dollars in debt with fake credit cards using his gender-neutral name (Sandy Patterson). McCarthy's performance is funny, flamboyant, lovable, even touching at times, and Bateman is his usual annoyed but likable self. (He seems to always be playing Michael Bluth from Arrested Development). 

There's a sort of side-plot about McCarthy's character being pursued by angry fellow criminals and a bounty hunter, which spurs some of the story's action but never quite gels as solid comedy writing. Still, the jokes, even when they don't work, are in ready supply, and the movie makes a few surprise turns that keep it from being totally predictable. (I suppose it's probably fairly obvious that squeaky clean numbers-cruncher Bateman will be negatively influenced by his duplicitous counterpart.)

With Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, T.I., Genesis Rodriguez, Morris Chestnut, John Cho, Robert Patrick, and Eric Stonestreet. Written by Craig Mazin. Directed by Seth Gordon. 111 min. ½

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