A lot of sub-standard Hollywood thrillers get made each year, with big names up front, a plot to make the trailer look exciting and glossy enough visuals to pull it all off. But while most of those get dumped straight onto DVD, for comedy, it seems, they all make it into theatres.
After the rip-roaring success of the funny, if flawed, Horrible Bosses, Seth Gordon returns with Identity Thief, which at last gives a starring role to Melissa McCarthy. Playing a deceptively devilish Florida woman who’s stolen nice guy Sandy Patterson’s (Bateman) identity, Sandy flies across the country to confront the person making his life a misery. Agreeing with his boss that if he brings the trickster back their office to explain what happened Sandy will get to keep his job, Sandy and Diana begin a troublesome road trip home, and while it’s more trouble than he ever could have imagined, and warmth starts to grow between the pair too.
While the concept boasts a lot of promise, it’s fair to say Identity Thief flounders around the subject without ever hitting home. The film is at least 20 minutes too long and director Seth Gordon would have really benefitted from tightening the narrative and running to the classic 1 hour 30.
Identity Thief picks up right where Horrible Bosses left off and the two leads are entertaining and gently funny. Though Diana’s redemption struggles to come through, it was still quite an endearing tale but it’ll never have you in absolute raptures.
The film feels very laboured with the comedy not structured at all. The road trip feels like a lot of short segments, there isn’t a sense of momentum as the bickering jokes only come off but a couple of times
With the natural charisma of the two leads about the only thing that saves Identity Thief, it’s a very g eneric, very lazy Hollywood comedy. It largely won’t offend, but it won’t necessarily entertain either, which is pretty much the only reason you’d want watch this sort of film.