Identity Thief – A Review

June 12, 2013 7:43 pm

Identity Thief is about Identity Theft. The clue is in the name, really. Jason Bateman plays hardworking and straight-laced Sandy Patterson, who in one disastrous morning after having his bank card declined and an arrest warrant put out in his name, finds out he has been a victim of fraud. We also meet his fraudulent namesake, performed by Melissa McCarthy, as she is seen partying at Miami nightclubs and indulging herself in expensive shopping sprees all at the expense of Paterson. Paterson finds out and goes on a road trip to track her down.

Identity Thief’s storyline plays out like a romantic comedy. They meet, they hate each other then they grow fond of each other. Except in this case, there is no romantic payoff. This is not a spoiler; it’s fairly evident there won’t be. Patterson is married with two kids and a third on the way. This is his main motivation for tracking her down. Patterson needs to find her so he can clear his name of all charges against him in order to keep his job and provide for his family. So it becomes unclear as to where this film is going and when all was said and done,   there didn’t seem to be a point to this film.

What we got was an unfocused mess of a story, switching from ‘Rom-Com’ conventions to cheap action movie stunts at the end. The whole script seemed to stutter at times, not really making sense. The only saving grace was Bateman’s and McCarthy’s laborious efforts to muster some laughs out of the contrived jokes that were spread thinly throughout. One of the more confusing moments was when Patterson steals the identity of his former boss after being so harsh to McCarthy’s character for her actions. This not only made Bateman’s character hypocritical but also served as a plot hole, as there is never a real reason given for why he did it, other than just wanting to have some money and revenge for mistreatment.

There was not much else, just two hours of Patterson and his identity thief driving from Miami to Denver trading insults at one another. All the while, a menacing bounty hunter and two gang members hunting down McCarthy are hot on their tail. In a way, the bounty hunter, played by Robert Patrick, gave the only reason to keep on following the action, as he provided a sense of jeopardy to the story. On the other hand, the two gang members, played by T.I and Génesis Rodríguez, came across as clumsy and served no real threat -and hardly any laughs.

In the end, the overall message of the film was mixed. As this is Hollywood, I get that we need a happy ending, but it compromised any sense of realism. Patterson forgives his identity thief for her actions because she is a nice person. This serves a valuable lesson; identity theft is okay – as long as you’re cool.

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