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'Identity Thief' a waste of talent

By Kim Halpin
On February 18, 2013

Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy are some of the hottest names in comedy right now and are pretty much the only reasons to go see Seth Gordon's "Identity Thief."
Throughout the beginning 15 minutes of the movie I found myself constantly grimacing at the predictable and downright annoying plot advancements. It was wrought with those moments when you know the misinterpretation that's about to happen and you want to strangle the character for not saying anything to correct it. That was only the beginning of what was 112 minutes of failing plot and dreary moments that many critics are calling a waste talent.
A major flaw was the unrealistic nature of the plot line. Of course not everything has to be believable in movies, like the van crash and roll that miraculously kills no one, but some fundamental points were overlooked. Bateman plays a financial company's VP, and yet can't talk to his business partner about identity theft and his first logical plan is to fly to Florida to get a hold of the woman himself? Unlikely.
Also, the main focus of the movie is not the repercussions of Bateman's identity being stolen as I thought, but of the road trip from hell that Bateman has while bringing Diana (McCarthy) to Colorado. Of course, many of the interruptions of their journey are unrealistic as well. Can you imagine two different groups of bounty hunters searching to capture Diana for her crimes and getting shot and stuffed in a trunk instead? Unlikely.
Because McCarthy's character was hilarious to watch, there were definitely a few redeeming moments that had audiences laughing. She has a unique sense of style that includes visors, backpacks and bold floral printed shirts. While her antics were normally pretty funny, some of them also had me cringing again. After seducing an older man at a bar, she convinces him that Sandy (Bateman) likes to watch her with other men. All I could think was "No! No! No! I don't need to see this!"
In a variation of Stockholm syndrome, Sandy actually ends up feeling sorry for Diana after hearing her life story and is conflicted whether or not he wants to turn her in to the authorities. The sentimental moments where she opens up to him and really pulls at the audiences' heartstrings were a little surprising. In the middle of a comedy it's strange to see McCarthy on the verge on tears, and almost doesn't fit in with the rest of the action. It does, however, offer another side of the character, which allows the audience to sympathize with her as well as Bateman.
Judging from McCarthy and Bateman's prior work, it's not surprising that critics have said their talent is wasted in "Identity Thief." The script really holds back this piece, even though it's always a joy to watch the actors in it.
4/10 


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