IDENTITY THIEF: A Salty Review by Kernel Claire Smith

A chumpy, female Con-artist has been living it up in Florida on the stolen identity of one Sandy Patterson of Colorado. Father of two, loving husband with one more on the way, the real (male) Sandy Patterson discovers this dastardly plot and has just one week to haul the moniker-mugging-menace back to his hometown and put his life back in order.


Identity Thief - Starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy
Identity Thief – Starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy

The trailer for this comedy looked promising enough – a series of well-timed slapstick puns and the combined comedy genius that would be Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy. Unfortunately this is one of those flicks that makes for a better trailer than a film. It’s a genre mashup of confusing, mostly one-dimensional characters that are introduced far too late in the story, not to mention at least five arguments on how “Sandy” is a unisex name, and a plethora of failed pickup lines and awkward sexual advances from McCarthy’s part. It’s part “odd-couple”, part buddy comedy, and part road-trip movie – the kind where the characters have a life lesson during the journey and learn more about themselves through learning about each other. *Sigh.*

Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Identity Thief Review

When the police in Sandy (Bateman)’s home-state of Colorado abandon the notion of arresting the pseudonym-stealing Sandy (McCarthy) because she is in a different state, Bateman devises the ingenious plan of reasoning with the crook in order to get her to un-knowingly make a statement to the cops, under the guise of confessing her misdemeanors to Bateman’s new boss. As the pair have the same name, social security number and date of birth, they can’t simply hop a plane out of town together, but are forced to drive all the way across the country to get back home.

Why they couldn’t just do the whole “confession” over the phone, or why Colorado Police couldn’t provide evidence as to why the Florida State Police should arrest McCarthy on their behalf isn’t really explained – but I suppose it would be a really short movie if that was the case.

Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Identity Thief Review

Jason Bateman shows us more of the same as we’ve seen in, well, everything he does (Arrested Development, Juno, Hitch) and the boisterous, larger than life Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, Gilmore Girls, Mike and Molly) works well as the name-nicking-nuisance with a penchants for credit-card replication. The films flimsy premise relies too heavily on the comedic heavyweight main players, McCarthey’s full-scale comedy is there in force, and works well alongside Bateman’s classic super-straight act. It’s evident that they are both truly talented comedians, but the film plays out like an awkward, extended gag-reel and ultimately is a mediocre throw-away of comedic potential. There are a few laugh out loud moments that get the audience giggling, and a couple of great slapstick acts between the two. It’s really a shame that this one fell flat, as in the right hands, this pair could just be absolute comic-dynamite on screen together.

Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Identity Thief Review

For the Bateman/McCarthy fans, it might still be worth a look, especially if the meandering pace of a Saturday Night Live skit is of particular interest, but for the most part, I’d say wait for the blu-ray release as the blooper-reel on this one will most likely be fantastic.

Identity Thief is out now in cinemas, is rated MA15 and gets a rating of 4 out of 10 throat-punching self-defense moves.