Melissa McCarthy stars as a con artist and Jason Bateman is her straight-laced, buttoned-down mark in a new comedy called "Identity Thief". NY1's Neil Rosen filed the following review.
Melissa McCarthy stole the show in the movie "Bridesmaids", and she also stars in the CBS sitcom "Mike and Molly". Now, she and Jason Bateman team up in a new big screen comedy called "Identity Thief".
Bateman plays Sandy Patterson, a mid-level financial services guy from Denver, whose identity has been hijacked by a con artist, played by McCarthy. She's living the good life on his credit cards, in Florida, pretending that she's him.
Unfortunately, the premise goes completely off track early on. When Bateman reports the problem to the local police, they say they he's going to have to live with this dilemma for close to a year. Bateman's job also winds up being on the line because of what this scam artist is doing, which also makes no sense.
Bateman's solution is to go down to Florida, drag the impersonator back to Denver, which results in a three-day road trip, and ultimately have her arrested.
The fact that the Denver detectives wholeheartedly endorse this crazy idea is a weak plot point that I couldn't get past. But even if I looked at this strictly on a comedic level, the movie falls way short. Director Seth Gordon, who did a better job with the movie "Horrible Bosses", has two talented comedic performers here, but wastes their talents.
There are a few funny scenes, which are only humorous because of the comedic chops of both McCarthy and Bateman. Lesser-skilled performers would have made these scenes unwatchable, but McCarthy, going for broad laughs, and Bateman, as the straight-laced foil, milk the mediocre, formulaic script for whatever slim comedy there is, and they manage to wring a couple of chuckles out of it.
McCarthy and Bateman also wind up on the run from a bounty hunter and two other contract killers, which is just a terrible excuse storywise to inject a whole bunch of bad chase scenes into the predictable film.
McCarthy, in her first starring movie vehicle, is a dynamo and she's appealing, and Bateman has been very charismatic on screen for years. But both of these talented people deserve better material and crisper direction.
Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating Scale: 1 1/2 apples