Willie Waffle is the movie critic for people who hate movie critics.

Identity Thief - Stealing Your Money and Time - Review

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identitythiefposter.jpgJason Bateman stars as Sandy - a hard working, underpaid and even less appreciated corporate accounting-type on the verge of having it all pay off.  He has the opportunity to score a much higher paying job with people he respects and likes, but it all is put into jeopardy when a warrant is issued for his arrest.  

Of course, Sandy didn't do it, because his identity was stolen by a woman (Melissa McCarthy), who has ruined his credit, run up all sorts of tremendous debt and committed some crimes.  However, his new employer needs more proof of his innocence, and the cops cannot act fast enough.  The solution?  Sandy is heading to Florida to capture the thief by himself.

Will Sandy be up to the task?

Identity Thief elicited one giant shrug from me.  It's not horrible and embarrassing.  Bateman and McCarthy don't face the end of their careers or the ruination of their reputations for taking the money to star in this one, but it's a flawed movie.  

Identity Thief suffers most from a mish mash of tones and directions.  Writer Craig Mazin and director Seth Gordon start us down the path of ridiculous, broad, sometimes crass farcical comedy, which is fine.  No one will win an award for most original comedy writing or have this script confused with something written by Tina Fey, but it's funny enough and keeps you interested as the situations are getting more and more out of control.   

Identity Thief fails when Mazin and Gordon try to inject some sort of real emotion, redemption and sympathy for McCarthy's criminal character.  They jump from farce to drama too quickly, then jump back with plot turns that are harder and harder to believe and accept based on what we just saw before it (and our own common sense).  If it was one crazy movie that got more ridiculous by the minute, which is what you think you get with these characters and situations, Identity Thief would have been a better movie.

Yet, you sit in the audience and feel for McCarthy and Bateman because it is obvious they are two talented actors stuck in a mediocre movie.  

While the attempts to bring some sort of sympathy to McCarthy's character are misguided, her ability to evoke that sympathy from the audience is underrated.  She brings more depth to this character that it deserves and gives me a feeling she could add new dimensions to her career by expanding into drama territory as well (if she is given a chance, instead of being typecast).   
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Meanwhile, Bateman has perfected his looks of sympathy.   I cannot think of one person on the planet like Sandy who would ever find an ounce of feelings for someone who has ruined his life in such a fashion, but Bateman makes us believe for one nano-second, which is only because of his ability.  

Identity Thief is a Time Thief, Money Thief, Good Taste Thief or any other pun you want to write.

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1 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)

Identity Thief is rated R for sexual content and language