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Sunday, 3 April 2016

Weekend TV Movie Review: Identity Thief - Channel 4 (2013)

Identity Thief 
Directed by Seth Gordon
Cast: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Jon Faverau, Amanda Peet, Tip 'T.I' Harris, John Cho, Morris Chestnut 
Studio: Universal Pictures
Estimated Worldwide Gross: £175,361,578

Plot: Unlimited funds have allowed Diana (Melissa McCarthy) to live it up on the outskirts of Orlando. There's only one glitch: she's financing her shopping sprees with an ID stolen from Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman), an accounts rep who lives halfway across the U.S. With only one week to hunt down the con artist before his world implodes, the real Sandy Patterson is forced to extreme measures to clear his name.  

*This review may contain spoilers*

'A Surprisingly Amusing & Interesting Romp' 

Identity Thief is a road-trip like no other; a road-trip from hell, well supposedly it is hell but ultimately a bond and friendship develops between these two unlikely characters. Just when you thought that after discovering and tracking down the culprit responsible for her misdemeanors, he would turn her into the authorities straight away, the pairing hit it off. In his attempts to clear his name, both agree to work together to restore his reputation.   

Like with many of Melissa's characters, Diana is very brash, 2 dimensional, funny & mean at first. But as the movie develops, she becomes more likeable and understanding, as we learn more about her backstory and the way she became the way she is. That is she is not the heartless b**** that we'd come to expect, and that she is after all human and makes mistakes. Jason Bateman plays the likeable good guy role well. 

The script isn't much to write home about, but it is the performances by the two main actors as the main protagonists, which pretty much saves this movie from being terrible. The rest of the characters (such as the wife, the two criminals and Terminator 2's Robert Patrick) were bog- standard and by taking away the two leads, Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, Identity Thief becomes a rather lackluster and forgettable experience.  

There are a few scenes that some will find cringe-worthy such as the sex scene between Diana and the guy she picked up at the bar, yet others like myself found humourous and rather hysterical. I laughed and smiled on certain occasions. The movie is really funny, thanks to McCarthy and Bateman. Despite the R-rated and 15 rating, the humour wasn't as crass as one might expect and the fat jokes and humour wasn't done in a way that came across as too predictable. 

I know that stealing another person's identity is not something to make fun of, but I don't think it was the movie's intention to make it as though it is a morally acceptable thing to do. But rather, it goes to show the harsh realities and circumstances of having your identity stolen and for it to be used to purchase other goods, items, services. I felt for Bateman's character and emphasized with him, as it (as in identity theft) happened to me before in real life. 

The film was surprisingly fun and enjoyable, and better than I expected. I did have low expectations prior to seeing it; however, it turned out better than I thought it would be. The manner in which the events had unfolded and seeing the two main characters change over time and in leading up to the ending, was pretty good. 

Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy are an unlikely pairing, but in some ways also, given they come from a comedic background, I could sense their camaraderie on screen worked to their advantage. If it wasn't for the pairing of these two, then the movie would not have been as good; especially as the other antagonists and characters (such as Sandy's wife) were pretty 'forgettable'. 

What is generally a farcical and over-the-top romp, Identity Thief also shows Melissa's and Jason's characters undergoing their fair share of lows, in addition to highs throughout their friendship. The humour is not gross-out and too in-yer-face as other comedies of this type. The balance between humour and realism through a subject matter like I.D theft wasn't overdone, it was perfect and just right. 

Final Verdict:

With some good action sequences, funny and entertaining scenes - Diana singing Kelis's Milkshake, the sex scene involving Melissa's Diana and some fat guy, & Sandy smashing a guitar on Diana's head anyone? - I enjoyed Identity Thief far more than 'The Heat', which in my opinion pales in comparison. 

Despite the negative scores and reviews, I found the movie to be funny and - but for some aspects of the last third of the movie - interesting. 

It appears as though based on some of the reactions from movie goers and viewers, this film is not to everyone's taste, but if you are looking for some bellyful of laughs, then Identity Thief is worth getting or seeing. 




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