What could be more horrible than having your identity stolen and being told no one will help you get it back? While I am tempted to answer that question with the response of watching the latest Jason Bateman vehicle, Identity Thief, I feel that may be going a bit overboard. Still, at least now you know where this is heading.
Identity Thief stars Bateman as Sandy Patterson, a mild mannered, mid-tier accountant at a large financial firm. He’s a nice guy, with a nice wife, and nice kids. Simply put, Patterson is living the ideal life and after making a career move that puts him in great place financially, nothing could seemingly be better. That is of course until his credit cards start being declined; he gets arrested for missing a court hearing he knows nothing about, and gets implicated in a drug scandal. Oh and, no one wants to help him and he has seven days to clear it up or his new firm is going to fire him.
Left with no recourse Sandy heads to Florida to track down his financial doppelganger, Diana, played by Melissa McCarthy. When he meets up with her, things don’t go so well and it is not until some gun-wielding types show up at her door that the road trip really begins. Never-mind that the drug running storyline makes no sense when matched to Diana’s personality, it is a device for moving the inane plot forward and there are many more of these throughout the film.
After the trip begins in earnest, Sandy and Diana become completely unlikeable. About halfway through it is clear that Diana is going to take a turn that allows Sandy to spare her from legal consequences but, while that does happen, Sandy becomes the same type of monster that she already is. This ultimately leaves the film with two charismatic actors playing character I despised by the end. Identity Thief suffers from a lot of the same problems that 2010’s Due Date does, the biggest being that it pits two people in painfully unfunny situations that come across as mean-spirited more than anything else.
Last year, director Seth Gordon proved that he was more than just a flash in the pan comedic hit maker, hitting big with Horrible Bosses, his second straight 100 million dollar R-rated comedy. Reuniting with his Horrible Bosses star, Jason Bateman, for Identity Thief, Gordon was surely hoping that he could repeat his past success and he probably will do that financially. But that is a shame because it will only encourage more garbage fodder like Identity Thief to come to theaters.