Reviewed by: Russell Emory
|Featuring:||Jason Bateman … Sandy
Melissa McCarthy … Diana
Robert Patrick … Skiptracer
Genesis Rodriguez … Marisol
Amanda Peet … Trish Patterson
John Cho … Daniel Casey
Jon Favreau … Harold Cornish
Eric Stonestreet … Big Chuck
Maggie Elizabeth Jones … Jessie Patterson
|Director:||Seth Gordon—“Horrible Bosses,” “Four Christmases”|
“She’s having the time of his life”
Something I like to do when I go to a movie is ask myself the question, “would this movie have been relevant 20-25 years ago?” Most of the time it is a futile exercise, but this time it paid off. Twenty plus years ago, identity theft could cause many of the problems that Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) faces in this movie. I could spent an entire review discussing the inaccuracies in credit reporting and credit security in this film, but that is not why you read these, so let’s get to the content.
“Identity Thief” stars Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy as Sandy Bigelow Patterson. Bateman is the victim of identity theft, and McCarthy is the perpetrator. Bateman works in the financial services industry, so that he breaks the cardinal rules of protecting your identity makes me question his competence. Note for readers: Your credit card company (Visa, MasterCard, etc.) will never ask for your card number, and your financial institution or its agents will never ask for your social security number. If they do, hang up and contact them. This is how McCarthy’s character gets Bateman’s information; she calls him, and he gives it to her.
After a night of partying and running up an enormous tab, McCarthy’s kicked out of a bar, and, during the ensuing altercation with the bartender, proceeds to punch him in the throat. Bateman’s character is finally made aware of his identity’s theft when he’s arrested in Denver, Colorado, for skipping a bond hearing in Florida. Bateman’s character has recently left his job to join a new firm. His wife’s (Amanda Peet) pregnant, as well as two young daughters. His new boss (John Cho) threatens to fire him over the indiscretions that McCarthy’s committed under Bateman’s name.
Bateman’s character decides to go down to Florida and convince McCarthy to come back to Denver with him to clear his name and keep his job. Needless to say this is where the main events in the plot come in and gets really confusing. A bounty hunter (Robert Patrick) is called in to apprehend McCarthy and two thugs, Marisol (Genesis Rodriguez) and Julian (rapper T. I.), who McCarthy sold bad Credit Card info to come after the two. It is almost a cross-country escapade (Florida to Colorado) for Bateman and McCarthy to clear his name.
Morally, Bateman’s character seems like the most upstanding, and that is putting it loosely. ***SPOILER*** He helps McCarthy’s character out in the end, but, still, too little, too late. Characters in this movie take part in excessive drinking, promiscuity, not to mention the theft and the violence that goes on. McCarthy has a one night stand with a stranger in the hotel room, and no nudity’s shown, but the scene is over the top. Also, there are poor sexual innuendo jokes throughout the movie, as well as a lot of implying without saying. The language is just atrocious; the f-word (or iterations) are uttered upwards of 50 times, while the s-word’s uttered over 40. God’s name and Jesus” are used as profanities over 30 times. There are lesser vulgarities scattered throughout the film, as are vulgar hand gestures.
The movie relies a lot on physical comedy, almost in excess. One recurring gag is McCarthy constantly throat punching people, when she’s threatened or startled. I counted at least five. It also makes light of drunk driving, when McCarthy is trying to convince Bateman to stop for the night.
Spirituality is not an issue at all in the movie. The only mention of the name of God or Jesus is when they’re used as a profanity. Religion is never mentioned in any way. It is just completely absent from the movie.
I don’t recommend this film, at all. Don’t go see it, don’t watch it on edited network TV, but do educate yourself on credit card security and identity theft.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.