Identity Thief (2013) Review

By John Delia   X Formly Known as Twitter
3 Min Read

.'Identity Thief' - Good Acting Steals The Show In This Average Road Tripper

The comedy road tripper Identity Thief enters this weekend's film choices on a good note.  Although it's not the best relationship film, I found it entertaining especially if you like the dead pan comedy of Jason Bateman and the wild and wackiness of Melissa McCarthy.  If you want some guffaws and whoops, then take a ride with a name stealer and its owner in Identity Thief.

Diana's (McCarthy) a con artist that has been stealing identities for a living in Florida.  With her handy dandy credit card making machine she spits out cards of the unsuspecting and puts them to some incredibly blatant use. On one particular day she randomly calls Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Bateman) in Colorado and tells him that his credit card has been compromised and that as a member of the fraud division she's informing him of his options.  But, before she can talk about it to him, she wants to make sure she has the right person. Sure enough the gullible Sandy gives her everything including his social security number for verification.

Armed with all the necessary information to cut several credit cards, Diana goes on a rampage of spending from drinks to diamonds.  After maxing out one of Sandy's cards she moves on to the next one making an appointment for hair and nails.  In the meantime, Sandy pulls into a gas station with his tank on empty and the pump refuses his card.  Going to the attendant he gets his card cut up and soon after gets arrested by the police at his place of business.  The police find a mug shot of the real perpetrator Diana from a recent arrest for drunk and disorderly and they let Sandy go.  When they tell him the only way they'll be able to get his identity back involves catching the woman red handed, Sandy takes off for Florida to bring Diana to justice.

The fun film has the right actors playing the roles, Bateman (The Switch, Horrible Bosses) and McCarthy (Bridesmaids, "Mike & Molly").  I knew it wouldn't be long before they paired these two comedy icons and with Identity Thief they have a perfect chemistry, just the right mix of gullibility and slapstick.  With more amusing situations than any comedy in the last decade, the two play out the hapless guy vs. the smart loud-mouthed con. Although the film could have been a good 15 minutes shorter, in a way I'm glad it wasn't as Bateman and McCarthy will probably never get a chance to provide another witty romp, unless we get a part 2.

Directing of the fast paced, action packed laugher Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses, Four Christmases) puts enough road blocks in front of the two characters on their trip from Florida to Colorado to make two movies.  At times I found myself missing some of the fun because I was still reeling from the previous scene.  Although you do get the connection on where he's going with the story, it's sometimes too much. It is especially evident at the motel when Diana picks up Big Chuck (Eric Stonestreet) at a bar and takes him back to her room for a three-way.  It's just a little too over the top for even McCarthy to play out, much less Bateman so the scene gets flat, gratuitous and meaningless.

Another downside involves straight arrow Sandy who approaching the three quarter mark into the film takes a different turn by becoming a con at the bequest of Diana.  This takes the film another direction and makes Sandy more a predator than a guy just looking to get his identity back.  But Gordon does finally bring the film back on point just in time for the sappy ending.

The film has been rated R by the MPAA for sexual content and language.  Be cautioned that some of the language does get very down and dirty at times.

The film starts out on a very serious note regarding identity theft, a crime in which millions of people in America each year become victims.  With one easy call to an unsuspecting person, a criminal can get your information in the blink of an eye including you social. In 2010 according to Reuters, 8.1 million people were victims of this white collar crime amounting to $37 billion*.

FINAL ANALYSIS: The choice of the two actors makes this average road flick quite whitty. (C )
Directed By:
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 85 minutes
Distributed By: Universal Pictures

Purchase Identity Thief from the iTunes store.
Stream on Vudu / Fandango

For more information about Identity Thief visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. For more reviews by John Delia please click here.

Identity Thief images are courtesy of Universal Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

FlickDirect, John  Delia

John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business over his lifetime from writing for newspapers to film making. He has been a film critic for many years and earned his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Florida. John is also a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) which is comprised of more than 40 journalists working in the print, radio and online media.


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