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Movie review: Identity Thief

Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy bring laughs in new comedy, Identity Thief

Photo: Universal Pictures

February 9, 2013 | 12:00 p.m. CST

For moviegoers looking for more comedy akin to those responsible for the sidesplitting laughter brought in the past few years by films such as Bridesmaids, look no further. Identity Thief is next on the list.

The film follows the story of an average businessman, Sandy (Jason Bateman), who is unhappy with his unappreciated position at work. He also struggles with a growing family he’s trying to support and the trials of having what he insists is a unisex name. While he’s attempting to get his life on track, he discovers that his identity has been stolen and abused by a woman (Melissa McCarthy) who’s particularly fond of hoarding and homemade credit cards in Miami. Lacking help from local law enforcement, Sandy decides to do the dirty work himself by hunting her down and forcing her to return with him to Denver. The trip, of course, is slowed by many outrageous detours. Their combined brazen honesty and stubbornness make for hilariously sarcastic banter. Together the two make an unexpected and slightly dysfunctional tag team, having to rely on each other’s flaws to get home.

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The comedic moments are generally predictable, especially from seasoned director Seth Gordon. Gordon previously directed Horrible Bosses, whose humor mirrors that of this film, when characters just can’t seem to get it right. However, he backs up his known style by throwing in many an unexpected plot twist. The audience is able to keep guessing, something fresh for a film of this genre. If that isn’t convincing, then the humor is still able to stand for itself. Although it’s not exactly new, it still brings non-stop laughter for the audience.

The excellent leading duo of Bateman and McCarthy is what will bring the film success. With some great comedies under these actors’ belts, audiences should know to expect Bateman’s blatant sarcasm mixed with McCarthy’s obnoxiously lovable antics. They use the straightforward and vulgar script to their advantage. Their talents balance well and create an excellent “frenemy” relationship. Although these actors aren’t exactly out of their comfort zones, they bring experience that is well displayed.

Identity Thief is good for some serious laughter and ranks well among the many comedies of the past year. Hopefully it won’t give anyone any jail-worthy ideas.

Vox Rating: V V

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