Director Seth Gordon keeps the black comedy alive with Bateman and McCarthy delivering lots of laughs in spite of a bad script.
*** ½ out of 5
Rated R for sexual content and language
Article first published as Movie Review: Identity Thief on Blogcritics.
Back in Denver, Sandy has just been offered a vice president position at a new accounting firm by co-worker/friend Daniel (John Cho). But now the cops are looking for the real Sandy since his name is linked to a drugs and firearms investigation in Florida, where Diana is living the dream — on Sandy’s dime. Thanks to a mug shot, Detective Reilly (Morris Chestnut) knows that Sandy’s identity has been stolen, but can’t do anything until Diana commits a local offense. Sandy decides he’s going to get all this straightened out by heading to “the worst place in America” — Florida — to bring Diana back to fess up to her crime. Meanwhile, a couple of thugs, Julian (T.I.) and Marisol (Genesis Rodriguez), send Diana and Sandy on the run with a Skiptracer (Robert Patrick) hot on their trails as well.
Director Gordon keeps things in line better than most could have, and when the film is sticking to the funny (which is most of the runtime) it’s hysterical. It all makes me wonder if there was a hefty load of improv on the set of Identity Thief, and the major tonal issues with Hangover II are solely to blame on co-writers Scot Armstrong and Todd Phillips (who also directed that debacle). The only concern here is that when things get serious, they get downright maudlin. McCarthy has more than one moment where she looks like she’s hoping to thank the Academy someday. And goodness knows what is up with the whole Beetlejuice ending. Thankfully, Gordon knows we came to laugh, and on that level, Identity Thief has a pretty good comedy credit rating.
Photos courtesy Universal Pictures