Friday, April 5, 2013

Identity Thief (2013)

Year: 2013
Director: Seth Gordon
Cast: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, John Cho, Amanda Peet, Jon Favreau

Before I begin my review.....
Now, you can all accuse me of being a spoil sport or looking too much into it, but the big thing I found with this film is that I really don't want to laugh at human beings who do what Melissa McCarthy's character does. Luckily, Identity Thief really isn't that funny so I didn't have to.

Identity fraud and more commonly credit card fraud is a big problem in society at the moment. I can see that the film makers want us to see the funny side of the crime, but I don't believe the victims of such crime would find this funny.

That's all I am going to say on that matter.

Personally, I also couldn't find the snake scene particularly funny as I have a huge phobia of snakes. That is just me though. I don't feel strongly about whether or not they should have included that scene in the film. I just don't like snakes for the fear that they can bite you and inflict damage. For this reason I have never seen Snakes On A Plane, and don't plan to.

What is happening to the quality of comedies these days? Mediocrity is the order of the day, unless we are talking about Identity Thief. Bad is the word of the day when it comes to this film.

As well as being generally unfunny, the characters are not particularly likable and the script just a bit of a mess and extremely predictable. Two fine actors head the cast but are not given the script or characters to bring out the best in their acting.

The film opens with Denver finance worker, Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) receiving a call regarding the security of his credit card. Not suspecting anything, he hands over his details and on the other end of the line is an identity thief (Melissa McCarthy) who gathers information on her victims and then goes and has herself a good time. Sandy catches on to what is going on and when this puts his job at risk, he flies down to Miami to face his nemesis and bring her back to Denver to clear his name. However, a woman like this who cons people for a living isn't about to make things easy for Sandy.

It takes a specific type of humour to find this film funny. You have to either find people finding themselves continuously in embarrassing situations funny, people being irritating funny or the odd sexual joke funny. Many people do find these things funny and so the majority of people will find some laughs in Identity Thief. However, even these people will feel that the film is trying a little too hard to make people laugh. Some of the  humourous scenes are just annoying and have more of a "Was that meant to be funny?" air about them.

This is the type of humour which is seen quite regularly in the main stream comedies today. The film doesn't seem original at all as it seems almost like a remake of 2010's Due Date with a man and a woman instead of two men. Identity Thief is a road trip film combined with a stolen identity film, both of which have been seen more than once or twice on the big screen. Admittedly in films which are funnier than this.

The script does not hold any surprises and is extremely predictable. Not only can you predict the ending, but what is going to happen at every pit stop these two take. The cinematography is also quite dodgy in parts. The panning shots used are super quick and do not allow your eyes to focus on what you are looking at.

Although the actual character development is quite well done and backgrounds of the two main characters done well, the two main characters are generally unlikable. Jason Bateman's Sandy starts off like a good guy, but just turns annoyingly into someone who is clearly not doing himself any favours. Melissa McCarthy's thief (who has many names during the film) is more annoying than funny. There really is no chemistry between the two character's and it is unclear as to how and when they start bonding through the film (a bit of the Stockholm Syndrome at work).

However, the saving grace for the film and is the only reason to see it is one particular scene in the restaurant in St Louis in which Melissa McCarthy show's what a brilliant actress she really is. She's known for her comedies and that is her niche, but there is no doubt that this woman can act and in this particular scene she is wonderful.

By the way, why was Jon Favreau given third billing when he is barely even in 5 minutes of the film?

So besides one good scene which is a must for McCarthy fans, there really isn't any reason to see Identity Thief. Not even if you need a laugh, because you aren't even guaranteed that.


You may have seen Jason Bateman in....
Up In The Air

You may have seen Melissa McCarthy in.....

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