Movie review: Identity Thief is just plain fun

By Gary Wolcott, atomictown.comFebruary 8, 2013 

Identity Thief won't win awards. It's not going to end up on anybody's best-of-the-year list. Like director Seth Gordon's last film Horrible Bosses, Identity Thief is harmless fun that lets you get away for a couple of hours and have a few laughs.

And there are quite a few.

Melissa McCarthy is Diana, a brilliant thief who has stolen Sandy Bigelow Patterson's identity. Her spending spree on his credit cards causes Jason Bateman's Patterson great consternation. He's a rising star in a financial firm, and now he's in trouble with the law because of her crimes. Those problems include possible termination because his new boss and new firm cannot afford the scandal.

His only choice is to find her and get her to confess. His boss gives him a week or the career is curtains.

Patterson and Diana cross the country in a variety of vehicles on their predictable date with destiny. Travel in flicks like this is tricky. Naturally, they're low on money and must get creative to get to Denver from Florida on time. To add to the travel troubles, and to give a skimpy plot a little more beef, an angry bail bondsman and organized crime boss want her and give chase.

You don't know why and you don't care.

Bateman is a steady Eddie, a predictable and known quantity, and the fulcrum that the comedy revolves around. Few actors can do comedy with a straighter face than Bateman.

McCarthy excels at layered characters. She's superb as shallow Diana using superior brainpower and guile to mask a million insecurities. As her character warms and thaws, a deeper, troubled and impossible-not-to-love young woman emerges.

Amanda Peet, Jon Favreau, Genesis Rodriguez, T.I., Robert Patrick, Morris Chestnut and John Cho are all excellent in supporting roles that push the plot forward and help cement the bonding of the two lead characters.

Identity Thief works in spite of the fact that it's essentially a formula buddy movie that it often wanders aimlessly through comedy country already charted by great films like Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Midnight Run and other fine buddy flicks.

Chemistry is the reason things click. Actors with the ability to connect their characters to you always overcome a multitude of movie sins. In this case, the buddies are Bateman and McCarthy.

Steal a couple of hours and catch this one.

Identity Thief

Director: Seth Gordon

Stars: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Amanda Peet, Jon Favreau, Genesis Rodriguez, T.I., Robert Patrick, Morris Chestnut, John Cho

Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars

Rated R for mature themes, language. It is playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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